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Ze Frank is one of the most creative and enigmatic people working in digital media. He's also just plain funny. His work could arguably be among the most viewed and participated-in content ever created. He is known as a performance artist, humorist, composer and speaker, including multiple appearances at the prestigious TED conferences. For millions of followers and fans who know him through his experiments in online interactivity, social media, and audience participation, this installment of Creative Inspirations reveals the man himself as he explains his unique point of view, his thought processes, and what spurs him on.
(Music playing.) I kind of I think early on was pushed towards drawing and creative endeavors, so by the time that I landed in high school I strongly identified myself with art, and that was the thing that I was good at. And spent at an incredible amount of time in the art room in the morning. And that's really where I probably struggled with the idea of who I was and what I guess I was supposed to do the most... was in arriving at school early and just being incredibly dazed after hours of drawing.
And anyone that's really gotten into a creative task probably knows the feeling of not remembering a thing for the last two hours, sound disappearing and time kind of melting away, and then you sort of like wake up out of it and very, very discombobulated. I don't know why I selected Brown. It really-- the guidance counselor program at my school, I mean, nobody really got accepted to Ivy League schools from my school.
I kind of like picked Brown the same way that one might pick a candy that you weren't familiar with out of a bowl. Like you sort of look at the wrapper and you kind of imagine what's inside, but you don't have much of a sense of what it is. I went in with the idea that I was going to do something liberal artsy. I took some classics classes to see if that worked, religious studies, some philosophy, and I was just completely lost for the first year and a little bit.
And that's when I took this neuroscience class and just absolutely fell in love with the fact that there were tests that had right answers. I mean it was just so awesome to me that you could get 100% on something. I mean, I was battling against so many different winds. Trying to get inside of the head of the professor, trying to insert myself into this incredible highway-like stream of culture and history.
In neuroscience it was like the answer was either in the textbook or it had been said in class, and it was up to you to try to figure out how to memorize the stuff by organizing it in categories and systems. I studied neuroscience all through undergrad and graduated with a degree, a B.Sc. in Neuroscience, and then I continued to work in that lab for another three quarters of the year or sp on my way-- at the time the idea was that I was just going to transition right into a PhD program there.
The work that I was doing, I was finishing up a paper that would later be published on learning and memory in the visual cortex in rats. Even though there were really pretty great people that I was in the lab with, it didn't stand a chance when the band I was in, the two other guys asked-- We kind of decided that maybe we would make a run for it and move to New York City. So that's kind of when I jettisoned.
And I think the things that you major in, in college or the things that you have sort of latched onto early always hold a special place and it's something that you can return to and feel like you have spent a little bit of time there. I have definitely spoken at a couple of places, given talks to different audiences, where I have seen that pop up in the bio. It's sort of like the organizers are kind of psyched to suggest that there's a link between the neuroscience and the rest of the work I do.
As if this has been like a calculated effort to mind-read in the 21st century sort of way.
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