How a postcard can reshape your perspective

Andri Søren  @TEDx Brussels

Andri Søren at TEDxBrussels (Photo: TEDxBrussels)

There is a certain type of joy that comes from receiving a postcard. Through a few words scribbled on the back of an image, postcards have the ability to transport the reader to another time and place. Two TEDx talks, one at TEDxGroningen, the other at TEDxBrussels, shed light on another kind of postcard and how sensory experiences, expressed through art and music can potentially provide us with a new narrative about our lives.They also remind us that, even during the most difficult times, a simple gesture has the power to become a transformative experience.

Music from Everyday Sounds, on Postcards | Andri Søren | TEDxBrussels

Andri Søren is a musician and visual artist who takes sounds from everyday life — of an elevator moving between floors, a siren, a garbage truck, church bells — and then stretches them out and compresses them to create new sounds. Because he wanted to turn his recycled sounds into something tangible, Søren began sending postcards with information the recipient can use to download the music he creates.

“I think there’s so much inspiration to be found in the everyday, in things that appear quite normal,” he says. “I think that things that exist in our ordinary present and past can actually have extraordinary futures in all sorts of different ways.”

Searching for beautiful moments | Janne Willems | TEDxGroningen

Since 2010, Janne Willems has collected over 7,500 beautiful moments from strangers around the globe. It’s not as difficult as it sounds: Willems walks up to people and asks for them to draw a beautiful moment that happened in their life over the past week. “Beautiful moments can take many forms,” she says at TEDxGroningen.

Willems is the founder of Seize Your Moments and has traveled to 27 countries and three continents asking people about beautiful moments. “If you ask people to talk about their beautiful moments, that place in time becomes beautiful, too,” she says. “Almost everybody starts to smile because they relive that moment.”

Throughout her travels, Willems has noticed consistencies within certain countries: people in The Netherlands draw themselves receiving compliments; people in Singapore draw more family dinners than those anywhere else; and sexual openness is quite different in Nepal than it is in Sweden.

“It’s the small moments that make us the happiest, not the big ones,” she says. “And focusing on beautiful moments makes your day easier, but the little moments are also the first to be forgotten.”

1 Comment

  1. I love this perspective. This frames and articulates abstract thoughts of my own over the years. A philately for years, postcards really do brighten days and uplift, I’ve seen from my own experience

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