Raghava KK

Outsider Thinking: What Doctors Can Learn From Artists

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Art and science are really not that different in their objective. Just they’re different in the way they approach it.

Raghava KK

Raghava KK, named by CNN as one of the 10 most remarkable people of 2010, is a multidisciplinary artist and storyteller whose work is shown in galleries and museums around the world.

Having quit formal education at the age of 18 to start his career as a newspaper cartoonist, Raghava is today considered one of India's most successful young artists. Raghava also applies his artistic practice beyond the gallery space. He is actively involved in a radical education initiative, NuVu Studios,  an offshoot of Harvard and MIT, to redefine creativity in education.

In 2011, Raghava's iPad book "Pop-it" shook up the concept of the ideal family and won a Kirkus Book Award for Best of 2011. His current work attempts to combine art and technology to bring multiple perspectives into the deployment of knowledge.  He recently demoed his brainwave art at TED2013 in Long Beach.

Raghava is a four-time TED speaker, and he has lectured at several universities and art institutions, including NYU, Carnegie Mellon, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, etc. He serves on the NuVu advisory and has also advised the INK Conference, Singularity University, Innoz, Startup Village, Nytric, and Banto.

Raghava often collaborates with other artists, including Erykah Badu, Paul Simon, and Yann Vasnier, a FIFA Award winning perfumer.  He lives and works in New York and Bangalore, India.  He is currently working on his next show to open up his artwork to invite participation and redefine the role of the spectator.



Raghava KK: So when I told my uncle who is a doctor that I’m speaking at TEDMED he said, “Has the profession suffered some cardiovascular attack?”  I said, “No, no, no.”  I said, “Art and science are not that different.”  To begin with, people stare at naked bodies a lot.  But I also told him both of us really are searching to find ways to articulate ourselves, our lives, who we are. And so I went on to explain to him that we don’t have to be competing with each other.
I really believe that art and science complement one another.  And whether the TEDMED audience really likes art, follows art, believes in art, it really is immaterial.  What I want to convince them about is that art and science are really not that different in their objective.  Just they’re different in the way they approach it.

For example, even in my own work I always leave white spaces for the participation of my viewers.  And the role of the spectator changes from being someone who buys art to someone who sees it to someone who participates in it. When you treat a patient as someone who’s not partaking in their own care and their own health care, there’s an issue.  You have to leave the white spaces for them to come and take ownership of their health, take ownership of their wellbeing.  Artists are learning that and they’re using technology to do that.  And I feel doctors can also do that. 

I thought I was the outsider at TEDMED but I really don’t think I’m that much of an outsider.  And hopefully by the end of my stay there, my time there, I can show them that the outside is also the inside

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd