David Trubridge on Art

David Trubridge gave a TEDxAuckland 2013 talk on why art is important to us now. It was called Our need to create. During the talk he referred to various images and ideas in support of his ideas.

He referred to the Chauvet cave paintings done tens of thousands of years ago. These are the very same caves that Werner Herzog made a documentary about called Cave of Forgotten Dreams.


” Humans have two brains; that’s not quite right we have one brain into hemispheres left and the right. There is amazing book by Iain McGilchrist called The Master and His Emissary in which he describes how these two brains work.

These two hemispheres. you can see here the different characteristics of these two hemispheres.

The right is outward looking connected and the left is inward-looking and isolated.
Spherical/ linear, intuitive /rational, in context / decontextualized empathy is in the right the left is self-referential.

The right likes uncertainty, the left does not and these two parts of our brain have evolved to work in tandem in a three part process.”

( right, left, right)

“McGilchrist goes on to describe throughout our culture how there have been these cycles in which our culture has been influenced first by one them by the other hemisphere.

The early Greeks a flowering of the arts was the right hemisphere, late greeks was rational, logical, left. The renaissance was a period of the flowering of the arts again followed by the age of reason.

The age of enlightenment which is rational. The age of reason was personified by Descartes who gave us the Cartesian grid. He said – I think therefore I am. Followed by the age of reason – we have the romantics the period of Beethoven, of Wordsworth of connection (to) the landscape. Of paintings in which the figures where the human element is diminutive, its small; compared to the power of nature, the size of the trees, the size of the clouds in the sky. You are drawn into that sense (of nature) where the humans are small and then the final triumph for the left hemisphere – the Industrial revolution and modernism and back to the city grids that started with Descartes.

Now I believe that a lot of the problems that we are encountering today in our world are because of this imbalance. Because we have become so dominated by the left hemisphere. The rational thinking side, we’ve lost connection, we’ve lost feeling. We’ve lost empathy; we’ve lost intuition because the left hemisphere thinks it knows all the answers. It doesn’t need to be deal with the right any more; but the left hemisphere is a self-referential hall of mirrors. It is not connected. It doesn’t understand consequence it doesn’t feel the consequence…

Trubridge then goes on to talk more about how the creative process works with other examples from his art and design output.And about reconnecting to nature and the right hemisphere through our art.