The next TED Fellow is Prumsodun Ok. Prumsodun (or "Prum") works to engage diverse communities in his practice as an artist, critic, teacher, writer, and organizer. His art contemplates Rene Daumal's idea of the "avant-garde in antiquity," reinterpreting the gestural vocabulary and ritual function of Cambodian classical dance as a tool to question, explore, and inspire transformation within our world.
Prum trained in Cambodian classical dance under the direction of Sophiline Cheam Shapiro. He then studied experimental filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute with Ernie Gehr, Brook Hinton, Jeanne Liotta, Sam Green, and composer Charles Boone.
Some questions for Prum:
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on "The Cambodia Exhibit," a dance theater work attempting to reclaim Cambodian classical dance from the ethnocentric and nationalist discourse that surrounds its practice, and "Vihear" (or "A Secluded Place to Walk"), a collaboration with Yannis Adoniou's KUNST-STOFF, which uses the search for home and love to reveal the struggles and resilience of Cambodia's gay men as they attempt to form relationships in the face of development, tourism, and globalism.
What do you do for fun?
The perfect evening for me is having the chance to cook with and for friends, catching up with one another in the intimacy of home and candlelight -- this all before hitting the town to take in the night with loud music and equally loud dancing! Other than this, those rare chances to just stop and think about the way the sunlight touches my skin, are bliss.
Tell a surprising anecdote about yourself that few people know.
As a child, I was prone to having seizures. My worried mother approached the local monks and they told her that I was a "child of the gods": I was here to fulfill my duty and I would then leave this world young. This idea has been reinforced by others, such as a homeless man who handed me back my kickball at age 10, and a friend's monk-soldier boyfriend who, when I was 16, claimed I was the incarnation of a divine warrior named Sina. Whether I believe in this or not, the idea has certainly affected how I see my life.
Reminder: submissions for the next round of TEDGlobal Fellows will close March 11. To apply or to recommend an extraordinary candidate, please visit ted.com/fellows .