Together with Edoble‘s Jess and A Small Lab‘s Chris, I’ll be presenting about Tokyo Local Food at the special Global Cities Pecha Kucha this Thursday evening in Tokyo. I’ll post the slides online later, but please attend if you’re here.
今月は、Global Cities Weekと題しまして、世界中のPechaKucha Cityがそれぞれの都市のプレゼンテーションで各イベントを盛り上げています。私たちも東京に関するプレゼンテーションと一緒に皆様をお待ちしております！
Japanese architect Kuwahara Shigeru blogged about my recent Pecha Kucha talk. It’s the first architect review and the first Japanese language review of my work. Kuwahara-san is a talented architect and bright thinker, and I am flattered by his interest.
I will excerpt his Swerve blog post, and link to the full post.
友人がプレゼンするからと誘って貰い、久し振りにPecha Kucha Nightへ と遊びに行ってみました。その盛況振りには非常に驚かされましたが、分野も様々にバラエティー溢れるプレゼンター、とても面白く有意義な時間を得る事が出 来ました。（ペチャクチャナイト：20枚のスライドを見せる事ができ、各イメージについて20秒間だけ説明することが出来る。20×20＝400秒約7分 間が持ち時間。クライン・ダイサム・アーキテクツが主催し、今や、世界300都市でこのイベントは行われ日々拡大している。）
今回の彼のプレゼンは、Tokyo Green Space/東京の小さな緑と 題し、都会の中で、緑地をどのように感じ、育み、楽しんでいけるのか、あらゆる角度から可能性を探っていこうとするモノであった。これだけの国際社会に なって、外人も日本人もないが、やはり我々が普通にやり過ごしていることに目が止まるようだ。アイロニーなユーモアと温かい楽観的な視線が、コンニチの東 京を伐る。
Wednesday I presented Tokyo Green Space at Pecha Kucha in Tokyo in front of almost 300 designers, artists and creative types. The biggest crowd pleaser was the photo of the still life of salary man in a flower bed.
I presented half in Japanese and half in English; it was good practice but a little nerve-testing to talk about my research in Japanese.
I was overwhelmed that so many friends came to the presentation, including Shu, Matthew, Katy, Izumi, Shinobu, Shige, Takako, Hagiwara, Mike (TM), Taka, Alban, Claudia, Umeki, Ben, Jesper, and Hannah. Many thanks to Mark Dytham, Astrid Klein and Tomoko for inviting me to participate!
Next Wednesday night (December 2) I will be speaking at Pecha Kucha night in Tokyo (click for map). The event brings together the widest possible variety of designers– including architects, fine artists, crafts, graphic designers, illustrators, and other creative types.
Pecha Kucha’s name comes from the Japanese phrase for “chit chat,” takes place in an informal club setting with a simple format: presenters each show 20 slides that automatically change every 20 seconds. Begun by Tokyo-based architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, the event has spread to 257 cities worldwide. Some past presentations have been put online.
In my 6 minutes and 40 seconds, I will try to speak half in English and half in Japanese. I hope some of my blog readers will be able to attend.
A London art, plants and urbanist organization Waywardplants.org rescues unwanted plants– “discarded, abandoned, rogue, stray or runaway”— and discovers new homes where they will be cared for. This horticultural intervention has created adoption forms, placed itself in the Barbican Art Gallery in London, and encompasses a full life range from “freecycle” sharing to composting “cemetaries.”
You can watch a Wayward Plant presentation made at Pecha Kucha London. As all their talks, it is 20 slides at 20 seconds, for a total less than 7 minutes. They will also be participating in the Graham Foundation‘s exhibit, “ACTIONS: What you can do with the city” that presents 99 actions “that instigate positive change in contemporary cities around the world” based on common activities such as walking, playing, recycling, and gardening. It’s in Chicago until March 13, 2010.
This week I had the great pleasure of meeting Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, the most celebrated foreign architects in Tokyo and founders of Pecha Kucha, a monthly public get-together where young designers from every field are invited to present 20 slides for 20 seconds each (a total of 6 minutes, 40 seconds). Pecha Kucha is now in 198 cities around the world, and KDa architecture has just celebrated its 20th anniversary with a retrospective at Gallery Ma in Roppongi.
Klein and Dytham’s office is on the second floor of a low-slung 1960s office with a terrazzo stairwell and unremarkable exterior. From the outside, it could hardly be further from the playful and modern buildings and interiors that they create for their clients.
Their work as designers and community-builders is very inspiring for me. Klein and Dytham through boom and malaise have made a success in Tokyo by both adapting to local culture and being outsiders who use displacement to their advantage. Their work includes ordinary objects in unexpected contexts: the circular mirror on a stick at small intersections is repurposed as a delightful viewing mechanism for a top of Roppongi Hills museum cafe, and they used the garish, dancing light sign posts favored by soba and massage shops to frame photos of their work at the retrospective. I also like how they fit bold designs in cramped urban spaces overloaded with conbinis (convenience stores) and other clutter.
Their philosophy centers on fun, delight and feeling alive. They have done some interesting green projects in the past, including a temporary green wall in the early 00s outside of Ando Tadao’s Omotesando Hills. I think their work would be a great fit with the green design of Tase Michio, who also conveys a sense of being alive by surrounding human life with an exuberance of plant, animal and soil life.
One thing Astrid told me sticks with me. She admires the nonchalance of Tokyo people doing cool things and making things without remark or requesting recognition. So do I.