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Mick Ebeling 談一項「解放」藝術家禁錮的發明

Mick Ebeling: The invention that unlocked a locked-in artist

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Mick Ebeling

2011年3月演講,2011年4月在TEDActive 2011上線

 

翻譯:TED

編輯:朱學恆、洪曉慧

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

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關於這場演講

神經疾病ALS(俗稱「漸凍症」)讓塗鴉藝術家TEMPT全身癱瘓,只能靠眨眼與外界溝通。在TEDActive一場精彩的演講中,企業家Mick Ebeling分享了他和他的團隊如何共同合作,創造一個開放源碼的發明,給予這位藝術家-以及跟他有相同情況的人-一個重拾藝術創作的方法。

 

關於Mick Ebeling

Mick Ebeling創辦「沒有不可能」基金會,這是一個開發創造性方法解決真實世界問題的非營利組織。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

Mick Ebeling是The Ebeling Group動畫製作公司創辦人,這是一間國際製作公司及創意智庫,代表一些領先世界的設計和領導團體。

 

他和一個由程式設計師、駭客、藝術家和發明家組成的團隊開發出EyeWriter-一個低成本的眼球追踪裝置,讓罹患神經疾病ALS的藝術家只用他們的眼睛就能作畫。

 

Mick Ebeling的英語網上資料

Website: The Not Impossible Foundation

Website: The Ebeling Group

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Mick Ebeling 談一項「解放」藝術家禁錮的發明

一直以來我都特別幸運,能夠做一些很棒的計畫,但我做過最酷的計劃跟這個人有關,這個人名叫TEMPT。TEMPT是80年代最好的塗鴉藝術家之一,有一天他跑步完回家,對他爸爸說:「爸,我的雙腿麻麻的。」那就是ALS(肌肉萎縮性脊髓側索硬化症)的前兆。現在TEMPT完全癱瘓了,只有眼睛能動。

 

我認識他,是因為我的公司是做設計跟動畫的,所以顯然對塗鴉藝術這塊精細的領域也很景仰,所以我們決定要贊助Tony(就是TEMPT),幫助他的情況,所以我去見了他的兄弟跟父親,對他們說:「我們打算給你們這筆錢,你們要怎麼用呢?」他的兄弟說:「我只希望能再跟Tony說說話,跟他溝通,而他也能跟我溝通。」我說:「等等,這不是…我見過史蒂芬‧霍金…不是所有癱瘓的人都可以藉由這些儀器與人溝通嗎?」他說:「不行,除非你是上流階級,有超好的保險,不然是做不到的,因為你負擔不起這些儀器。」於是我說:「好吧,那你們是怎麼溝通的?」有人看過《潛水鐘與蝴蝶》這部電影嗎?那就是他們溝通的方法,動手指。我說:「那也太落後了吧!怎麼會這樣?」

 

我當時出現只是想開張支票,然而,我卻寫了一張完全不知道該如何兌現的支票。我當時向他的兄弟跟父親承諾,我說:「好,就這麼辦,Tony要說話,我們會給他一台儀器,而且我們還要想辦法讓他能再度從事藝術創作,因為一個仍然才華洋溢的藝術家,卻沒有辦法揮灑,實在是太荒唐了。」

 

幾個月後,我在一場研討會上演講,我碰到這些叫GRL的人,即「塗鴉研究實驗室(GRL)」,他們有一個技術,可以讓他們將光投影在任何表面上,然後用一枝雷射筆在上面畫,就可以在陰影的地方造成明暗對比,所以他們到處去做這樣的藝術裝置。他們說,他們所有的作品都有生命周期,首先從性器官開始,然後是髒話,接著是罵布希的話,然後才真正進行到藝術的部份,他們的作品一定都有一個生命周期。我回到家跟太太吃晚飯,邊吃邊聊到這個,我們大約是這麼說的:「等等,如果有這個可以讓人用眼睛操控東西的技術,為什麼我們不想個法子讓TEMPT操控雷射,那他就可以重拾畫筆,豈不是很棒!」

 

於是整個過程就開始了。大約二年後,一年後,在經歷過幾個機構和一些奔走之後,我們完成了幾件事。第一,我們幾乎把保險公司的大門敲破,真的給TEMPT弄來一部機器,讓他能跟外界溝通-就是史蒂芬‧霍金用的那種機器(掌聲)。這太棒了!他真是最有趣的人-我都叫他尤達(星際大戰的大師),因為當你跟他說話,收到他的email,你會覺得:「我真不配,這傢伙太厲害了!」

 

我們做的另一件事是,從世界各地找來七個程式設計師,真的是從世界各個角落,請他們來我們家,我太太還有小孩,我們全家都搬到車庫去,然後這些駭客、程式設計師、陰謀論者和無政府主義者佔領了我們家,很多朋友都覺得我們做這件事很蠢,認為等我們回來後,就會發現牆上所有的照片都被拿下,只留下一堆塗鴉。但二個多星期以來,我們寫程式,我們去威尼斯海灘步道,我的小孩加入我們,連狗也參一腳。

 

然後我們創造了這個,叫做EyeWriter。你們可以看這個說明,這是一副便宜的太陽眼鏡,我們在威尼斯海灘步道買的,裝了些銅線和一些從Home Depot及Radio Shack(美國家庭裝潢賣場及連鎖電器行)買來的東西。我們拆解了一個PS攝影機,把它裝在一個LED燈上,於是這個免費的裝置就產生了。你可以DIY,我們免費開放程式源碼,你可以免費下載這個軟體。我們創造了一個完全沒有限制的裝置,沒有保險公司可以說「不」,沒有醫院可以說「不」,任何癱瘓的人,現在都可以用他們的眼睛去畫畫或是溝通。

 

(掌聲)

 

謝謝,非常感謝各位,那太棒了。

 

二週後,我們回到TEMPT的病房,我喜歡這張照片,因為這是別人的房間,那是他的房間,所有的忙碌都是為了這重大的揭曉時刻。經過一年的計畫、二週的程式設計,以及高熱量大餐和熬夜,Tony七年來首度能再提筆。這張照片很棒,這是他的維生系統,他的視線越過維生系統,我們升高他的床,好讓他可以看到外面,我們也架起了一部投影機,就在醫院外停車場的一面牆上,這是他癱瘓後第一次在親朋好友面前作畫。你們可以想像,我們在停車場那裡是怎樣的心情。有趣的是,我們還是偷闖進停車場的,所以我們完全覺得自己也是整個塗鴉文化的一部分。

 

(笑聲)

 

這些事結束之後,他寄了封email給我們,這是那封信的內容:「那是我七年來第一次能再度畫畫,我感覺自己像是溺水了很久,終於有人拉我一把,讓我可以浮出水面,再度呼吸。」是不是很棒?

 

(掌聲)

 

那封信就像是我們的戰鬥口號,支持我們繼續前進、不斷進步。我們走過漫長的路程才到達這個目標,這是個了不起的裝置,但它跟一個繪圖玩具畫板差不多,而一位如此有藝術潛能的人應該得到更好的,所以我們正在研究如何使它更好、更快、更耐用。

 

從那時起,我們獲得各方認可,也得了一些獎。記得嗎?它是免費的;我們沒有一個人從中獲利,所有都是我們自掏腰包,所以這些獎讓我們覺得:「噢,太棒了!」藍斯‧阿姆斯壯(環法自由車賽七冠王,著名「抗癌車手」)在Twitter提到我們,12月的時代雜誌也推崇我們是2010年50大發明之一,這真的很酷。

 

(掌聲)

 

最酷的是,而且這將使一切得以圓滿,就是在今年四月,在洛杉磯市中心的Geffen現代美術館,將有一項「街頭藝術」展覽。「街頭藝術」展覽將請到幾乎所有街頭藝術界的大咖,Banksy,Shepard Fairey,CAWs等等,這些傢伙都會出席,TEMPT也會去,這真是太棒了!

 

(掌聲)

 

所以基本上我的重點是,如果某件事看似不可能,使它成為可能。這間房裡的所有東西在以前都不可能,這個舞臺、電腦、麥克風、這個EyeWriter,一度都是不可能的,使它成為可能-在座每個人都可以做。我不是程式設計師,從來也沒做過跟視覺辨識技術有關的東西,我只是察覺到了什麼,然後主動結識一群了不起的人,使一件事情成為可能。這個問題,我希望在座每一個人每天都可以問自己一遍,當你想到某件事非做不可時。若非此時,更待何時?捨我其誰?

 

謝謝大家。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

The nerve disease ALS left graffiti artist TEMPT paralyzed from head to toe, forced to communicate blink by blink. In a remarkable talk at TEDActive, entrepreneur Mick Ebeling shares how he and a team of collaborators built an open-source invention that gave the artist -- and gives others in his circumstance -- the means to make art again.

About Mick Ebeling

Mick Ebeling founded the Not Impossible Foundation, a nonprofit that develops creative solutions to real-world problems. Full bio and more links

Transcript

I have had the distinct blessing in my life to have worked on a bunch of amazing projects. But the coolest I ever worked on was around this guy. This guy's name is TEMPT. TEMPT was one of the foremost graffiti artists in the 80s. And he came up home from a run one day and said, "Dad, my legs are tingling." And that was the onset of ALS. So TEMPT is now completely paralyzed. He only has use of his eyes.

I was exposed to him. I have a company that does design and animation, so obviously graffiti is definitely an intricate part of what we admire and respect in the art world. And so we decided that we were going to sponsor Tony, TEMPT, and his cause. So I went and met with his brother and father and said, "We're going to give you this money. What are you going to do with it?" And his brother said, "I just want to be able to talk to Tony again. I just want to be able to communicate with him and him to be able to communicate with me." And I said, "Wait a second, isn't that -- I've seen Stephen Hawking -- don't all paralyzed people have the ability to communicate via these devices?" And he said, "No, unless you're in the upper echelon, you've got really amazing insurance, you can't actually do that. These devices aren't accessible to people." And I said, "Well, how do you actually communicate?" Has everyone seen the movie "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly?" That's how they communicate -- so run their finger along. I said, "That's archaic. How can that be?"

So I showed up with the desire to just write a check, and instead, I wrote a check that I had no freaking idea how I was going to cash. I committed to his brother and his father right then and there -- I'm like, "All right, here's the deal: Tony's going to speak, we're going to get him a machine, and we're going to figure out a way for him to do his art again. Because it's a travesty that someone who still has all of that in him isn't able to communicate it."

So I spoke at a conference a couple months after that. I met these guys called GRL, Graffiti Research Lab, and they have a technology that allows them to project a light onto any surface and then, with a laser pointer, draw on it, and it just registers the negative space. So they go around and do art installations like this. All the things that go up there, they said there's a life cycle. First it starts with the sexual organs, then it starts with cuss words, then it was Bush slanders and then people actually got to art. But there was always a life-cycle to their presentations. So I went home and was having dinner with my wife and was telling her about this, and we were like, "Well wait a second if we know that this technology exists where you can use your eyes to control things, why don't we figure out a way for TEMPT to control a laser and he could do graf again, well that would be awesome."

So that started the journey. And about two years later, about a year later, after a bunch of organization and a bunch of moving things around, we'd accomplished a couple things. One, we battered down the doors of the insurance companies, and we actually got TEMPT a machine that let him communicate -- a Stephen Hawking machine. (Applause) Which was awesome. And he's seriously one of the funniest -- I call him Yoda, because you talk to the guy, you get an email from him, and you're like, "I'm not worthy. This guy's so amazing."

The other thing we did is we flew seven programmers from all over the world -- literally every corner of the world -- into our house. My wife and kids and I moved to our back garage, and these hackers and programmers and conspiracy theorists and anarchists took over our house. A lot of our friends thought we were absolutely stupid to do that and that we were going to come back and all the pictures on the wall would be removed and graf on the walls. But for over two weeks, we programmed, we went to the Venice boardwalk, my kids got involved, my dog got involved, and we created this.

This is called the EyeWriter, and you can see the description. This is a cheap pair of sunglasses that we bought at the Venice Beach boardwalk, some copper wire and some stuff from Home Depot and Radio Shack. We took a PS3 camera, hacked it open, mounted it to an LED light, and now there's a device that is free -- you build this yourself, we publish the code for free, you download the software for free. And now we've created a device that has absolutely no limitations. There's no insurance company that can say "no." There's no hospital that can say "no." Anybody who's paralyzed now has access to actually draw or communicate using only their eyes.

(Applause)

Thank you. Thank you guys very much. That was awesome.

So at the end of the two weeks, we went back to TEMPT's room. I love this picture, because this is someone else's room and that's his room. So there's all this hustle and bustle going on for the big unveiling. And after over a year of planning, two weeks of programming, carb-fest and all-night sessions, Tony drew again for the first time in seven years. And this is an amazing picture, because this is his life support system, and he's looking over his life support system. We kicked his bed so he could see out. And we set up a projector on a wall out in the parking lot outside of his hospital. And he drew again for the first time, in front of his family and friends -- and you can only imagine what the feeling in the parking lot was. The funny thing was, we had to break into the parking lot too, so we totally felt like we were legit in the whole graf scene too.

(Laughter)

So at the end of this, he sent us an email, and this is what the email said: "That was the first time I've drawn anything for seven years. I feel like I had been held underwater, and someone finally reached down and pulled my head up so I could breathe." Isn't that awesome.

(Applause)

So that's kind of our battle cry. That's what keeps us going and keeps us developing. And we've got such a long way to go with this. This is an amazing device, but it's the equivalent of an Etch A Sketch. And someone who has that kind of artistic potential deserves so much more. So we're in the process of of trying to figure out how to make it better, faster, stronger.

Since that time, we've had all kinds of acknowledgment. We've won a bunch of awards. Remember, it's free; none of us are making any money on this thing. It's all coming out of our own pockets. So the awards were like, "Oh, this is fantastic." Armstrong Twittered about us, and then in December, Time magazine honored us as one of the top 50 inventions of 2010, which was really cool.

(Applause)

The coolest thing about this -- and this is what's completing the whole circle -- is that in April of this year, at the Geffen MOCA in downtown Los Angeles, there's going to be an exhibition called "Art of the Streets." And "Art of the Streets" is going to have pretty much the bad-asses of the street art scene -- Banksy, Shepard Fairey, CAWs -- all of these guys will be there. TEMPT is going to be in the show, which is pretty awesome.

(Applause)

So basically this is my point: If you see something that's not possible, make it possible. Everything in this room wasn't possible -- this stage, this computer, this mic, the EyeWriter -- wasn't possible at one point. Make it possible -- everyone in this room. I'm not a programmer, never done anything with ocular recognition technology, but I just recognized something and associated myself with amazing people so that we could make something happen. And this is the question I want everyone to ask yourself every single day when you come up with something you feel that needs to be done. If not now, then when? And if not me, then who?

Thank you guys.

(Applause)
 


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