By: Jill Mendoza One of the most inspiring aspects of attending professional conferences such as NeoCON is the exposure you gain from innovative speakers who share behind the scenes insights of their most iconic work. This was so true of NeoCON 13 Keynote speaker Bjarke Ingels, cofounder of BIG, Bjarke Ingels Group in New York and Denmark. Ingels has developed a reputation for designing buildings that are as programmatically and technically innovative as they are cost and resource conscious. Beyond Ingels numerous awards and honors, one project which resonated with me the most was one that connected two countries, Denmark and China and has ties to us here in Indianapolis! The project was the Danish Expo pavilion in Shanghai where the design team used seawater from Copenhagen harbor to bring a bit of Denmark to the Chinese along with the original Little Mermaid sculpture from the harbor. Ingels idea took Denmark’s famed Little Mermaid statue perch in the Copenhagen harbor for nearly 100 years on a journey all the way to the Danish Expo Pavilion in Shanghai. In his speech at the ribbon cutting ceremony, John Hansen the Danish Prime Minister, said that many Chinese may not be quite familiar with Denmark, due to the modest size of the country but he went on to say that ‘everyone knows Hans Christian Andersen and the fairytale of the Little Mermaid.’ And the creative sharing between the two counties did not end there. While Copenhagen’s real Little Mermaid was in Shanghai, the Chinese artist Aei Weiwei was asked to place a temporary replacement in Copenhagen Harbor for the duration of the Expo. Ai Weiwei’s, Mermaid Exchange, recreates the image of the missing icon via a real time linkup through a LED screen erected in situ in Langelinie. An image of the LED screen perched in the same location in the harbor streaming a live image of the Mermaid at the Shanghai exhibit back to those in Copenhagen. The actual image of this creative work can be seen at BIG’s website. Select Info at the bottom left of the screen, select search and type in “Copenhagen’s Virtual Little Mermaid”. And this brings me back to how all this ties back to Indy. Our own Indiana Museum of Art has a current exhibition featuring over 30 works of the Chinese Artist, Ai Weiwei. The IMA exhibit is “A major retrospective of the artist’s work, this not-to-be-missed exhibition includes examples from the broad spectrum of the artist’s practice, which encompasses sculpture, photography, video, and site-specific architectural installations as well as the design for the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics in China. – See more at: http://www.imamuseum.org/accordingtoaiweiwei/about-the-exhibition/#sthash.TEzrhBQn.dpuf” How small our world has become and how fortunate we are to have such inspirational global talent willing to share their creativeness at venues like NeoCON and right here in our own back yard at the IMA!