Arm Wrestling + The Design of Everything

My friends at smbolic put this intimate conference on every September at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Next year it starts on my birthday (September 19th for those of you who want to send chocolate).


Cusp takes place over two days, an amazing group of speakers, musicians, dancers and big thinkers are given 20 minutes each to astound, inspire, make you feel old, make you feel young, make you cry, and laugh, make you mad, light your fire and make you get up and arm wrestle.


The conference is small enough that one has the chance to meet everyone there and engage the presenters in lively conversation. I've made some friends there, and have been promised a "real" architectural tour by bicycle with one of Chicago's finest architects next year - I'm going to hold you to it Stephen. 


Some of the highlights this year were the Harp Twins - a gorgeous pair of young ladies rocking out on full size twin harps. Emily Cummins - who reinvented the refrigerator at 17 and gave her design of a powerless evaporation fridge to needy communities in Africa then taught them how to build it with local materials. Emily, we still need to finish that conversation! Sarah Elizabeth Ippel brought the audience to the edge of tears with her emphatic plea for the design of better quality primary education. Van Phillips, the inventor of the famous "Flex Foot" for amputee athletes told of his experience in becoming handicapped and how he designed his way back to mobility. Adam Sadowski, CEO of Syyn Labs, an engineering think tank of pure magic and sensory experience - told us the story of their Rube Goldberg machine for the band Ok Go and their song This Too Shall Pass. 10,000 sq.ft. warehouse over two floors, three pianos, six tvs, one continuous shot (after three months and 87 tries). Amazing! Too many more to mention here, but I urge anyone interested in being interested to attend Cusp.

Thanks Again

Once again, thanks Dave, Greg, Kevin (and of course Joan and all the other people behind the scenes - and Audra Melton for the photo) - you guys are a class act. See you next September.

Add a Comment