Posted: Jul 4, 2012 at 4:03 PM [Jul 4, 2012]
ANN ARBOR, June 27 – UM senior Seth Samuels and recent graduate Kristen Zelenka are traveling to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London to capture the emotions of fans, athletes, and local community members through a filmed series of candid conversations.
Since organizing the TEDxUofM conference centered around highlighting the University of Michigan’s Ideas Worth Spreading, Samuels began noticing a pattern. As he put it, “Our conference is a space that we intentionally seek out to positively disrupt our normal routines – an energy spike. As soon as the conference ends, however, the inspiring energy evaporates immediately as we return to our daily lives.”
Guided by the belief that attendees, rather than speakers, will be the ones to carry on an event’s influence, Samuels and Zelenka began filming an interview series with fellow Wolverines. Dubbed the Spotlight Project, the intention was to continue to surface their remarkable stories that would otherwise go untold after TEDxUofM.
While working on the project, Samuels had a conversation with Apolo Ohno where the two discussed the Olympic Movement’s related goal of having the Olympic Games be an example for the way we live our daily lives.
Inspired by this motive and its tie to their work for TEDxUofM, Samuels and Zelenka are setting out to fulfill that mission by collecting stories from people in and around London. These stories will become the seed of a digital collage that they’re building to compile their footage, with a vision that it becomes a “digital public square” that anyone adds a photo or video story to, whether it’s from London or their living room.
“Our goal isn’t to replicate the ambiance of an event, but to extend its influence on our normal lives because of how this energy can transform our community,” Samuels says. “We believe that when people publicly reflect on their experience at an event by telling a story, it becomes possible to be held accountable by the broader attendee community to act on any goals associated with those takeaways.”
Rallying behind the project title Survive the Spike, the pair have launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to finish fundraising for the project. Here’s a short video explaining the project.