This May, surrounded by rocks, ruins, and tunnels, 100 people gathered in an ancient cave in Matera, Italy to explore ideas worth spreading. Complete with WiFi, an eco-friendly transparent resin floor, and a system to project images on the porous rock forming the venue’s walls, the cave was the perfect place for TEDxMatera to tackle their event’s theme: “Ancient Futures.”
TEDxMatera took over this space, called Casa Cava (“House Cave”) in Italian, transforming it into a space for talks and raucous discussion around the greatest issues facing the city today. The cave served as a quarry during the late Middle Ages to the 17th century and now exists as a hub for the arts in Matera. We spoke with TEDxMatera’s organizer, Mariapia Ebreo, on how TEDxMatera was accomplished. An edited version appears below:
–What was your favorite TEDxMatera moment?
The moment in which we “composed” the TEDxMatera 3D letters on the stage. We had to extract each single letter from the polystyrene base, and then compose the TEDxMatera letters on the stage. That meant to me that the TEDxMatera then had his own shape. That moved me. Having the chance to organize a TEDx event in my hometown has been very important to me because I’m working to improve my connection to this place, and my own skills, just starting from my personal history … that’s a kind of special magic.
–What do you hope to bring to your community through TEDxMatera?
A lot of people thanked me for bringing a TEDx event to Matera. We had a double language event (Italian and English), and Matera has placed a bid to become the European Capital of Culture 2015 and must prepare to become international … since she wants to win and host this! Each of the talks we had on stage touched someone in a very special way — integration; ambition as a positive thing; 3D research in video; the relations between humans and robots; the rural hub theory — all have had a welcome reception from a community that is really interested in changing and improving.