Lance and festivalgoer by Pete Rosos
Uncharted curator Lance Knobel, left, and Nate Lewis during a coffee break at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos

How do you sum up the essence of a two-day festival of ideas like Uncharted?

Festivalgoers were exposed to, and engaged in, such a wide range of conversations, covering the gamut from robotics to food movements, from aging to cloning, from technology to language, and from race to equality… that capturing the spirit of the event, which also included many inspiring musical performances, as well as dazzling bay views from the Uncharted party deck, is near-on impossible.

KQED Arts did a good job in a story published Wednesday, writing: “Uncharted gave … ideas … an ecumenical airing. In the parlance of [Uncharted speaker] Brian Christian, it was full duplex — open channel cross talk like in a bar — not the reductive half duplex talk of one-at-a-time messaging, which is what a robot can handle. In such as atmosphere, easy problems may still be hard … But hard problems are at least easy to talk about.”

One festivalgoer said simply that the experience of Uncharted reminded her why she loved to live in Berkeley, a city known for people who are curious, hungry for knowledge, and not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Here we present a visual record of the event, with stunning photographs by Pete Rosos and Nancy Rubin, two photographers whose work we are always honored to publish on Berkeleyside.

Adam Mansbach and Jeff Chang at Uncharted 2014 in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Pete Rosos

We will follow up shortly in a separate story with a selection of tweets and photos that were shared during the festival itself — an effective way to showcase some of the highlights and glean what festivalgoers and speakers were experiencing, and saying, as the event unfolded.

We also hope to share video and/or podcasts of the Uncharted 2014 conversations eventually so everyone can enjoy them.

See the full program and speaker bios of Uncharted 2014 at

Meanwhile, Berkeleyside, which organized the festival for the second year running, is already looking forward to Uncharted 2015. If you attended, help spread the word about your experience so even more people enjoy it in 2015. Give us your feedback by completing the quick post-event survey, so we can make it even better next year (and enter to win a copy of the beautiful “LOCAL” book by Uncharted speaker Douglas Gayeton).

Finally, you can stay connected to Uncharted by connecting with the festival on Facebook and Twitter, and by signing up for occasional Uncharted email updates.

Nell Robinson performing with musicians at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Nancy Rubin
A festivalgoer asks a question during an Uncharted conversation. Photo: Pete Rosos
Daphne Miller in conversation with Marissa La Brecque about health and farming at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Deborah McKoy talks with Daniel Shiffrin about what happens when kids get to design cities. Photo: Pete Rosos
Vocal Rush, an Oakland School of the Arts a capella band, performs at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Jennifer Doudna, a professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry at UC Berkeley, at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Quentin Hardy of the New York Times in conversation about robots with UC Berkeley new media professor Ken Goldberg. Photo: Pete Rosos
Gay marriage pioneers Kris Perry (left) and Sandy Stier (right) chat with festivalgoers at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Berkeleyside executive editor Frances Dinkelspiel talks with Saru Jayaraman about pay for restaurant workers at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
A coffee and ice cream break in the courtyard at the Berkeley Rep at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Nobel laureate Randy Sheckman talks at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Guitarist Calvin Keys plays during a break at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Kalimah Priforce (right) and Lance Knobel onstage at Uncharted 2014 talking about how East Bay youth can be the next generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Photo: Pete Rosos
Brown Sugar Kitchen chef and restaurateur Tanya Holland (right) talks with food journalist Twilight Greenaway at Uncharted 2014. Photo: Pete Rosos
Consul General of Mexico and all-round Renaissance man Andrés Roemer talks to an Uncharted 2014 festivalgoer. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Festivalgoers participate in an Uncharted lab organized by Jump Associates. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Festivalgoers buy books by Uncharted 2014 speakers at the Bookish pop-up bookstore. Photo: Pete Rosos
Claude Steele, executive vice-chancellor of UC Berkeley and an Uncharted 2014 speaker, talks to a festival participant. Photo: Pete Rosos
The Berkeley Path Wanderers led a walk with guide Elsa Tranter from downtown through the UC Berkeley campus to the Uncharted party at Cal Memorial Stadium. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Food, wine, beer and a chance to unwind at the Uncharted 2014 party at the University Club at Cal Memorial Stadium. Photo: Pete Rosos
Festivalgoers take pictures of the phenomenal sunset from the University Club at the top of the Cal Memorial Stadium during the Uncharted 2014 party. Photo: Nancy Rubin
The view from the Uncharted 2014 party on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Photo: Nancy Rubin
Uncharted Unplugged, and a special Uncharted cocktail, closed the festival at FIVE at the Hotel Shattuck in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Pete Rosos

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...