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Pecha Kucha Vol 18

September 9, 2010

Pecha Kucha never disappoints…

For those of you who don’t know, Pecha Kucha is an international event where creatives present their designs, thoughts and ideas in an informal setting to a specific format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each. With presentations that are concise and interesting, Pecha Kucha provides a platform to inspire and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration and connections.

Founded by Klein Dytham Architects (KDA) in Tokyo in 2003, Pecha Kucha (Japanese for ‘the sound of conversation’) has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily shown and has now spread to over 170 cities.

Last night, Brisbane’s event featured a dynamic line up of passionate creatives. First up was Creative Director of the upcoming Design Triennial, Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific, Ewan McEoin. With six of the nine largest cities being in the Asia Pacific, it’s no wonder there is currently major focus on the region. Ewan talked about the core focus of the Triennial and asked how is design responding to major issues of food, water, shelter, education etc with over 50% of people living in urban centres. More than ever, design must respond to need. When he asked “which way is design looking?”, I guess the answer we are all hoping to hear is that it is looking outward and providing solutions for some of the complex humanitarian problems we face.

Next up were duo, Markus Rittenbruch and Marcus Foth, who said we are “bathing in a sea of data, but how do we make all this information useful?” Their Street Computing project is examining how data is situated, looking at it as a physical entity and making it user-centred.

Local and awarded designer, Jason Bird of Objx talked about his work and design process. It was interesting to hear how everyday items and necessity inform designers. The Tingle stool was born out of Fruit Tingle candy and the Chunk computer monitor stand was created from a rejected prototype for the Tingle stool and the desire to replace the telephone book as the all-purpose monitor jack. Of course, we all love the stories behind the objects we buy and use…

A group of architecture students, Superstudio 10 winners, spoke about their respective games projects, while Paula Dunlop and Kathleen Cattoni of The Stitchery, shared insights into their collective and goals to connect people joyfully through fashion by partnering with like-minded organisations to facilitate community workshops and engagement.

Paul Fairweather amazingly condensed years of diverse creative practice into 20 slides. Disappointed to have missed his talk at TedxBrisbane earlier in the year, I was grateful to even catch a 6 minute, 40 second insight into his “travelogue of creative adventures”, which span architecture, painting, installation, acting, costume design, and many collaborations including the 1 Eigth school seating system with Jason Bird. Paul is a visionary and a long-standing, proactive member of the design community. Co-hosting TedxBrisbane with Carl Lindgren from Map Magazine is just one of the ways in which he activates the sector.

Jason Nelson described his “game engines designed to navigate poems”, while Jess and Adam from 2high Festival, a multi-arts program presented by Backbone Youth Arts, spoke of the amazing opportunity this festival provides for young performers and cultural producers.

Jenny Geale, a passionate volunteer for Room to Read, commended the great work being done in literacy internationally, thanks to their multitude of programs. She pointed out that yesterday was International Literacy Day, which made her talk all the more relevant. And, Jaz Choi, a Phd student also focused on this connection between people and learning. Her doctorate reflects on how play is at the centre of urban sustainability with particular attention to urban food production. A light went on for me when she said “food is as desired as it is needed”. How true…

Amy Saunders gave us a good overview of international PARKing Day and how Brisbane has contributed over the past few years. It’s not too late to enter this year, so visit the website to participate. Amy also organises Games Night and Games at Lunch, bringing giant board games to public spaces where interaction can be as much as participating or as little as spectating. Reminds me of the giant, marble, outdoor chess sets in Europe…

And lastly, Naomi Stead talked about her project, Visual Sociology of Architects. “What do architects wear?” This photographic essay, documented by renowned photographer, Nick Bassett, is a self-selected, revealing survey of architect sub-cultures, affirming that not all architects wear black. Naomi pointed out that it’s not a scientific, nor encyclopedic study, but it does things like bring visibility to women in the profession and through it’s online Flickr presence allows public collaboration through public curation of the images.

Thank you Kirsti, Christina and Luke who always organise and MC a great event. To all the speakers and the Brisbane Powerhouse, thank you. Mark in your calendars now, the next Pecha Kucha event to be held as part of Unlimited: Designing for the Asia Pacific on the 10.10.2010 with 10 speakers. See you there!

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