I had to leave my skepticism at the door for this one, especially after seeing the words “green”, “designer” and “architecture” associated with some of the speakers. But I was definitely rewarded for my patience. Though uneven, the 15th Vancouver installment of the international (over 300 cities host their own versions) phenomenon PechaKucha was definitely worthwhile, and even inspiring.
The idea is a number of people – last night it was 12; not sure if this is a hard-fast rule – have a brief window of time to talk about whatever they want, usually something to do with their passion. Each speaker has 20 images to work with and 20 seconds per image, and though this occasionally came off as nothing more than a commercial for someone’s product or website, there was also lots of interesting material and good energy.
So, in that spirit, rather than dwell on the negative, I’ll mention, in order of appearance, my favourites of the event (which, by the way, was held at a sold-out Vogue Theatre):
Scott Hawthorne, co-founder of Salt: on the value and potential of small spaces and random meetings;
Lindsay Brown, designer: on Habitat, a 1976 symposium in Vancouver on housing that has been all but forgotten;
Office Supplies Incorporated, street artist: on communicating via mash-up with “outsider” street artists.
So, three out of 12, with at least five of the others being at least moderately interesting and/or passionate, and only four being duds (or, to be fair, talking about ideas/subjects I had no interest in, and failing to make them interesting to me).
But probably the most important thing I took away from PechaKucha Night 15 was this: though I like to complain about the city – its uptightness, its NIMBY-ness, its political correctness, its lack of happy hours – there’s a lot happening here, and plenty of reasons to get excited about its potential.
Also, thanks to Think! Social Media‘s Robyn Hanson and Ben Vadasz for dragging my sorry ass out (Robyn) and the ticket (Ben).