Pecha Kucha Vancouver 6

Thanks to Richard Smith, I unexpectedly got to attend Pecha Kucha Night 6 at its usual spot at The Park Theatre not 4 blocks from my home. I arrived late (as usual) and panicking about locking up my bike as the clock inched past 7:05.

But I needn’t have worried; the presentations got to rolling around 7:12.

I dare say that this might have been the best night of the 3 Pecha Kucha’s I’ve attended thus far. Granted, I may be biased, because I knew a whole bunch of the people who were presenting (or were mentioned by the people presenting). A couple of themes I found especially resonant:

  • Bikes. Especially Momentum Magazine. Loved Toby Barratt’s look at all the bike cultures representin’ in the 604. The project is called Velo-City and it’s going to be an exhibit at the Vancouver Museum.
  • Democracy. Hurrah! Fresh from spending six hours at Vancouver City Council presenting and watching the Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source motion go through, Julie Gendron’s work (notably, Serious Culture, an interactive drawing installation) and comparably understated general approach made me so giddy in my seat, I rushed out of the theatre to tell her how much I loved her presentation as she and her husband were tending to their very new baby. Smooth, I know. I was also ecstatic that she put up a screenshot of Twitter and to see an Interaction Designer in the mix.

    Jonathan Kassian, a friend from the VEDC, also had a presentation of the economics of making Vancouver amenable to creatives and green and sustainable at the same time. While I thought his presentation and delivery were excellent, the content of it came across just a smidge too Richard Florida to me — I think talent can be nurtured in not just the young, urban, design set, and that focusing purely on turning a city into what attracts them can be an iffy proposition if it marginalizes, say, the sorts of people who were in everybody else’s presentations.

  • Childlike sense of joy and wonder. Erin Boniferro (working with Western Front and Jeff Hamada stick out in my memory, although I’d be remiss to not mention the whimsy of local fillmmaker Julia Kwan on growing up in East Vancouver. (As I often bemoan, there are so few people I run across who actually grew up here, it’s always worth noting.) I’m amazed by people who combine this feeling with their work, even as my inner cynic wags a responsible finger.

I’m always so terrified to talk to the people at Pecha Kucha. I can never quite overcome the nervousness that those designers and architects are just slightly too cool for me to interact with in this venue, even though I have no qualms with doing so at BarCamps or even at architecture niche gallery openings. I’m very aware that I’m a bit of a design groupie (*ahem* advocate) more than an actual proper artist or designer, and I’m generally OK with that. Knowing some of the presenters this time around helped, although I had to duck-out from post-presentation festivities because (wagging finger again) I’m recovering from being sick.

But I’m even starting to think maybe I could do one of these presentations. It would definitely be along the lines of FailCamp though. In public seems to be the best way to exorcise these sorts of things…though it’s never a guarantee.

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