In the spirit of the highly respected non-profit for “ideas worth spreading” and with a focus on patterns in nature and society, the TEDxKonstanz promises a kaleidoscopic experience of cutting-edge science, art, and technology. Keep your diary clear for four afternoons in March.


A flock of birds…a painting…a musical leitmotif: patterns are as varied and changing as life on Earth. Hypnotic to our senses and mesmeric to our minds, shifting patterns are also a fascinating lens through which to understand the complexities of nature and society.

With TEDxKonstanz—an independently organized 4-day event that brings a TED-like experience to Konstanz—artists and scientists will come together to discuss patterns against the backdrop of the technologies and issues shaping our time.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring the spirit of ideas worth spreading from the world-renowned TED conferences to Konstanz.”

Angela Albi, the TEDxKonstanz chief organiser and a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute in Konstanz.

TEDxKonstanz will be held from March 2nd-5th, 2021 with the theme of “Kaleidoscope: Patterns in Nature and Society.” The event is organized by students and members of the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior.

The event will examine four topics on the theme of patterns: art, algorithms, music, and social issues. Each day will focus on one topic, pairing an artist and a scientist to each deliver a short (18-minute) talk. The format will be fully virtual and will be live broadcasted, giving the opportunity to open a discussion to anyone interested in the topic.

“The theme of patterns is inherently interesting to people from all walks of life, and we couple this with invited speakers whose innovative work is shifting the status quo.”

“We think this captures one of the values of Konstanz, where people are not only interested in seeing interesting patterns, but in affecting the world around them and creating change.”

Jacob Davidson, TEDxKonstanz organiser and post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

The event’s theme “Kaleidoscope – patterns in nature and society” evokes the image of shifting patterns. It communicates the idea that patterns can arise from and be influenced by many things, varying with our perspective and changing over time. At the same time, a kaleidoscope is something you can hold in your hand, changing the pattern as you turn it or adjust the view. With this theme, the event will cater to a diverse audience coming from different areas of expertise.

A Russian software engineer who uses AI to create artworks (Helena Sarin); a Spanish photographer who transforms ordinary bird flight into otherworldly forms (Xavi Bou); and a US engineer who applies the rules of animal swarms to human dancers (Naomi Leonard) are among the global experts stepping up to the microphone at TEDxKonstanz to present their twist on the study of patterns.

The line-up also includes plenty of local talent drawn from the region. This includes Liat Grayver, a contemporary artist in Berlin who uses a robot as a tool for artistic creation, and mathematician Jurgen-Richter Gebert (TUM, Munich) who uses mathematics to visualize the geometry of music. From Konstanz, Hubl Greiner, a musician and composer, will be in dialogue with Sudanese drummer Mohammed Badawi to share stories of how they use music to build bridges across cultures. From Konstanz universities, economist Anke Hoeffler (University of Konstanz) will discuss her work on interpersonal violence in a session with economist Maike Sippel (HTWG) who studies climate change.

TEDxKonstanz is fully virtual and free for all to attend. Talks will be live-streamed during the March event, and made available after on the TEDx website. A limited number of tickets are available for audience members to engage in Q&A discussions with speakers following the talks.

TEDxKonstanz, 2-5 March 2021. Tickets available at tedxkonstanz.com. Follow @TEDxKonstanz on twitter and @tedxkonstanz on Instagram for the latest updates.


Preliminary program (5-6:30pm CET)

Day 1 – 02.03.2021

New modes of artistic expression

Talk 1: Xavi Bou (Photographer; Ornitographies project)

Talk 2: Liat Gravyer (Artist, Robotic painting)

Day 2 – 03.03.2021

Music through a new lens: mathematical and cross-cultural patterns

Talk 1: Hubl Greiner and Mohamed Badawi (Composer & Professor of Linguistics; bridging cultures with music)

Talk 2: Jürgen Richter-Gebert (Mathematician; visualization of musical patterns)

Day 3 – 04.03.2021

Algorithms of complexity: building patterns from the bottom up

Talk 1: Helena Sarin (AI artist; GANs for art) 

Talk 2: Naomi Leonard (Professor of Engineering; Flock logic) 

Day 4 – 05.03.2021

Patterns of interactions underlying social issues

Talk 1: Anke Hoeffler (Economist; interpersonal-violence)

Talk 2: Maike Sippel (Economist/architect; local action for climate change)


About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the TED Translators Program, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish,” or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED or Instagram at https://instagram.com/ted.

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