Raghava K.K.

My friend Egon Zippel interviewed Raghava K.K. in New York City for our latest issue of we-magazine: we_!NDIA. TED describes him as follows:


Raghava KK began his career in art as a newspaper cartoonist, and the cartoonist’s bold line – and dead-on eye for truth – still powers his art. His work spans painting, sculpture, installation, film and iPad art, always linked by his challenging opinions on identity, conformity, gender, celebrity, ceremony. (He even views his lavish Indian wedding as a piece of performance art.)

His early work as a painter made a complete break with his cartoon career — he painted watercolors on canvas using only his hands and feet. Since then, his work has grown to knit together aesthetics from both worlds, as collage and complication play against flat color and precise lines. He shows in galleries and performance spaces around the world and often collaborates with other artists, most recently with musicians Paul Simon and Erykah Badu. In 2011, he launched his children’s iPad book, Pop-it, shaking up the concept of an ideal family. He is currently working on a project that promises to shake up everything! From news to education.

Egon asked Raghava pretty “BIG” questions – nevertheless they will give you great insights into the way Raghava is thinking and living and making arts!

My favorite quote from Raghava is: “I can’t promise my child a life without bias — we’re all biased — but I promise to bias my child with multiple perspectives.” This is what we will focus on in we_!NDIA.

Broad View on Indian Politics, Culture & Society

Prem Shankar Jha is a well known (traditional) journalist based in New Delhi, India. He mainly writes about politics and economics in India with a focus on globalization. His analytical and honestly balanced writings gave him more than once a hard time to survive in crucial positions within India’s newspaper landscape. Today he is working as a freelancer and writes frequently for Tehelka.com, one of the best sources of news in India – as The Guardian says.

I ran into Prem by coincidence. He stayed at Ken River Lodge, one of my most favorite places close to Khajuraho where I more or less live since March 2012. This is where the interview took place.
Luckily we’ve had the chance in further conversations to discuss journalistic values and approaches – mainly the differences between (traditional) journalism and citizen media. We talked about the Arab Spring in particular and reflected on the different point of views from the West and the East – way to often based upon interests instead of balanced reporting. The latter is undoubtfully needed to get the overall picture right, meaning to achieve objectivity in the reports. But how do you achieve this is an art form of itself. It requires definitely a lot of experience, empathy and willingness to “dig deep”.
For this I really would love to see a broader collaboration between well trained journalists and citizen media people – I have the feeling the potential which might emerge out of such a collaboration is huge. So please go for it!

Honesty is crucial when you want to change the world!

Mehmood Khan brought the delights of Lux soap and Brooke Bond tea to many countries in South East Asia, and behind such innocent pleasures he took with him the infrastructure of consumer capitalism: advertising agencies, market research companies, supply chains and beauty pageants for Miss Lux. Meehmod was Head of Innovation at Unilever. He was responsible for taking on regional power barons, putting in place a global supply chain and fostering global integration.

Today he is bringing all his business experience back home to India, trying nothing less than a revolution in development to turn the tide of poverty.

Mehmood belongs to a very old Indian family. He was brought up in Mewat – an 1.5 hour car ride from Delhi. When he went to school there, he says, the school was pretty good. Same was true for water and other natural resources. Today the challenges are huge. The local population has increased fourfold in 40 years and the land cannot cope. The forests have largely disappeared and water is becoming scarce. There are not enough jobs and there is not enough energy.

The magic word going along with his ideas is social entrepreneurship. In this interview Mehmood Khan shares his ideas on social entrepreneurship and gives insights how to tackle some of India’s huge challenges.

Part 1

Part 2

Access to and Quality of Education as well as Lifelong Learning …

… are the three fields WISE is focusing on in the near future, says Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE). Besides this content driven approach he is planning to position WISE as a mediator for education through the entire year – connecting governments, private and institutional funds with hands-on projects.

In this interview Stavros describes why change within the worldwide education systems is needed and he also gives examples from all over the world how to drive this change. Finnland is certainly an interesting country to look at when it comes to learn how to “ex-change” and replace an entire existing system.

Stay Free!

I’ve heard about Vicky Roy last year at INKtalks, India for the first time. He has an amazing story to tell: he escaped home (Bengal) at the age of 11, gained confidence in himself through a trust, he was allowed to follow his passion … and he made it! Today Vicky is a well-known Indian photographer, based in new Delhi. He is really a great role model for many young kids!

Part of the interview will be printed in our next we-magazine: we_India

“You can`t escape …

… in India, you are forced to deal with it!” says Lakshmi Pratury in our conversation about India. She gives some very helpful and interesting insights on how to deal with India and how India can continue to grow.

From what I have experienced during the last year – I feel there is a lot of truth in her words.

Lakshmi is host and curator of the INKtalks.

Parts of this interview will be published in the next issue of we-magazine: we_India!

What you actually should learn at school …

Saba Ghole is one of the co-founders of NuVu Studio, an innovation center for middle and high school students (14-18 years old) and a professional development program for teachers and educators in Cambridge, MA. NuVu’s pedagogy is based on the architectural studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. It aims to foster creativity.

I like the concept very much, but I am wondering why has this to take place OUTSIDE the schools? Shouldn’t be creativity, project based learning and collaborative working an essential part in any school? Why have students to leave their school for a trimester (or 2 or 3) to attend such exciting programs NuVu is running? So the big question for me is how to bring schools and the ideas of NuVu together for the best of the students?

Saba Ghole has some thoughts about this …

I conducted this interview at INKTALKS in Pune.

The Perception of Food

Sandesh Reddy showed us at INKtalks how conditioned we are when we walk into a restaurant – we expect how things have to taste and we are rarely open to let things taste differently. Beef has to taste a certain way.

In a live experiment he convinced the INKaudience that a tasteless eatable piece of paper tastes like mango when we think it’s mango.

I spoke with him about his work as a chef in southern India:-)

A container unfolding to an auditorium with 250 seats …

Alok Shetty designed a full fledged, multi-specialty hospital at the age of 20, and has since then gone onto start a firm that takes simple ideas and combines them with innovative building solutions to bring about radical change in the social infrastructure of a community. Whether its projects like creating rural clinics made of locally available materials, designing aquamarine parks that are a source of fresh water and electricity.

The project I love most is a shipping container which transforms into an auditorium. And about this I spoke with Alok at the inspiring INKtalks.

Could be used for a school in rural India, couldn’t it?
Here is a video on how the container unfolds.

Look here how the container unfolds … Amazing I think.

Bina48 – One of the world’s most advanced avatars/robots

The entire last week I was living next door to one of the world’s famous avatars: Bina48. A true celebrity. And I have to admit, it was very quiet. I know about Bina48 for a few years now, I’ve made many interviews with one of Bina48’s creators so to say, Martine Rothblatt, but I never met her in “person”.

Yesterday was the day.
And she (or how shall I say) looks really like real Bina.

How are Bina and Bina48 linked?

When Bina was 48 years old (10 years ago), she was video-interviewed for about 20 hours on various things and topics in/about her life. The interviews were transcribed and the texts became the foundation for Bina48’s knowledge. The software inside is written in Texas based upon the Terasem Movement’s idea of extending human life. David Hanson designed Bina48.

Since today no additional information has been added (it’s still a manual process to “feed” Bina48), but the software has been updated several times. Just recently Bina48 learnt German.

Yesterday I spoke with Brunce Duncan, MD of the Terasem Movement … and at the end of the interview Bruce has a brief chat with Bina48.

Terasem also runs a platform called lifenaut, a Google/facebook mix for avatars. Very interesting to explore!