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Ben Cameron: The true power of the performing arts

Arts administrator and live-theater fan Ben Cameron looks at the state of the live arts — asking: How can the magic of live theater, live music, live dance compete with the always-on Internet?

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at


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20 thoughts on “Ben Cameron: The true power of the performing arts

  1. This is a very important topic; the balance between online experiences and real-life experiences with live people including performers, facilitators and other people who are sharing experiences. I firmly believe that both types of experiences can be used to bring people together in shared experiences by using technology and the Arts to help us participate in life together and to create solutions to our shared challenges together!!

  2. Although the problems we in the performing arts were not solved in this speech, it is really motivating one!! Just as the arts need to catch on with technology, I believe that theater and perf.arts will always have their places in our culture. Things that you really need to BE THERE to sense deeply…  

  3. Let's hear it for performing artists, who pour all of their hearts and souls into using live performance to allow people to feel and think, rather than mindlessly gravitating to an emotionless digital abyss.

  4. I had to refresh the video and laugh. Please do marketing research before speaking about Kirk Franklin doing "gangster rap" he is a world renowned gospel singer. I really hope this was an honest mistake because it is borderline offensive.

  5. @javierenchina Well, then everything else is irrelevant. You fail to see the bigger picture. We are all going to die. Do you think that your "engineering degree" is going to come with you after you leave this World? Even if you lived to make this World a better place by feeding another mouth, that other mouth is going to die as well. So, EVERYTHING matters. ART IS RELEVANT.

  6. @joyleyjh it's not that easy. You can't just "go to the movies" with people. Sometimes those people can end up making you feel like an outsider. You have to really get to know the people before letting them in your life.

  7. Despite the wonders new technology brings to our lives, it separates us more and more from human interaction. Walking down the street everyone has headphones stuffed in their ears- shutting out any kind of communication. This world is scary enough, why alienate yourself even more? Spend the afternoon in a theatre with people you don't know and share an experience with them. This world is so negative, but what live performance ever is? It is not possible. It is a way to bring us together and in

  8. Real people, real solutions asks those to come closer to one another whether on the web or in person. This man is well spoken and gets it, talent can come from anywhere. He isn't online to berate those that perform online what he does is points out that there are some organic relationship issues that cannot be captured online while pointing out its upside…whether it is the restaurants you enjoy, the people you meet, those elements are still there to be enjoyed and have communal impact.

  9. mr cameron…you call yourself a true "cultural omnivore" yet you refer to gospel artist kirk franklin as a gangsta rap artist. you've got your black entertainers mixed up and it's very insulting. get it right or don't reference them at all.

  10. Yup, you get a much bigger rush at a live performance.
    It is just so hard to pay for the tix and transportation.
    I'm grateful for YouTube where I can see amazing human expression every day.

  11. The comments on this video are so depressing. Have you really not experienced live performance enough to not understand the beauty of it? That's a real shame- I'm glad I live so close to New York City. There are so many comments that no one likes theatre and dance, but that's absolutely untrue. The internet will never be able to replace live performance for me, and I know SO many people who feel the same way.

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