Tonight was Edmonton’s third Pecha Kucha night. Around 300 people attended the event at The Matrix Hotel downtown, and like PKN #2, it was completely sold out. There wasn’t even a waiting-list or at-the-door ticket sales this time! There’s clearly a lot of demand for this event, and I don’t think that’s going to change in the future. Make sure you pay attention if you want to have a chance at getting tickets for PKN #4!
For those of you new to the concept – Pecha Kucha was conceived in 2003 as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. Presenters are given 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide, so each presentation is 6 minutes and 40 seconds long. There are no formal Q&A periods, but everyone is encouraged to chat at the breaks. How to pronounce “Pecha Kucha” is a common question here in Edmonton. Is it “pet-cha-koo-cha” or is it “petch-ach-kah”? Edmonton Next Gen decided it was the former and started with an exercise to get everyone to say it aloud:
Mayor Mandel also said a few words (his attendance meant there were dozens of cameras and a couple video crews present), and then it was on with the presentations.
Tonight’s event didn’t have a theme, but I think perhaps it should have. In comparison with the previous two Pecha Kucha Nights, I found the presentations this evening rather weak. There was far too much self-promotion going on. There’s nothing wrong with talking about your work/projects, but I think focusing on the ideas/concepts is much more interesting. It would have been nice to see more diversity too – tonight was fairly academic. As Sharon remarked to me, the presentations at PKN #2 were more accessible – you didn’t have to be an architect or industrial designer to “get” it. Also: two of the presenters were from Calgary, apparently. Could they really not get two other Edmonton presenters?
The first two, Ben King and Tobias Olivia, felt almost like pitches for their respective organizations. Al-Arqam Amer was third, and gave an interesting talk about how architects should do away with floorplans and 2D representations and should instead make use of photorealistic 3D models. Cezary Gajewski then talked about communicating industrial design. The final presentation before the break was by Ron Wickman, who talked about designing with accessibility in mind.
After the break Amber Rooke from The Works Art & Design Festival gave the oddest presentation I’ve seen to-date. She spoke about the festival, but I don’t think anyone was listening to her. Instead, they were focused on the mostly naked man posing on stage. Everyone in the audience was given a pad of paper and a pencil, and were asked to draw his various poses. Amber concluded by saying “6000 drawings were made in six minutes, imagine what we can do in 13 days.” I think the shock-value worked against her though.
Romy Young was up next to share his thoughts on photography – again, way too much “I” in his presentation. Milena Radzikowska followed with a presentation about a GIS-related project she’s leading with Mount Royal and Alberta Parks. Robert Lederer showed a bunch of random designs during his six minutes. The second last presenter was Thomas Gaudin, an industrial design student from the U of A. I thought this presentation was one of the best. He talked about Modernism and Postmodernism, and suggested combining them to result in something called Interface Architecture. He also said that South Edmonton Common is a worst case example of design, much to the delight of many in the crowd. The final presenter was Ryan Stark from the City of Edmonton, who talked about EXPO.
Once again there was a DJ, food, and a cash bar. I thought the seating took a step backward this time – we were spoiled by stadium-style seating at the TransAlta Arts Barns at PKN #2. Everyone seemed to be having a good time though, and the quality of the presentations notwithstanding, I think the event went really well. It’s great to see such a large group of passionate Edmontonians come together. I look forward to PKN #4!
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