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A Tokyoite manqué at Pecha Kucha - click opera — LiveJournal
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Thu, May. 31st, 2007 12:23 pm
A Tokyoite manqué at Pecha Kucha

Last year I wrote two complementary pieces about Pecha Kucha, the design show-and-tell event (twenty slides, twenty seconds to talk about each) invented at Super-Deluxe and jealously franchised worldwide by Mark Dytham. The Click Opera piece, tongue-in-cheek, was Pecha Kucha is dead. The Wired News piece that followed it (and benefitted from an actual visit to a Berlin pecha kucha event) was Pecha Kucha: Design Virus. It was super-positive.

Apparently this yin-yang, nice cop / nasty cop approach did not please Mark Dytham -- he had a hard time seeing the irony in the Click Opera piece, and was annoyed by the Wired.com piece because apparently the magazine had been planning to cover the pecha kucha phenomenon and changed their minds when they saw that Wired News had already done it. Sorry, Mark, I meant well!



Anyway, last night I attended my first actual Tokyo pecha kucha event. And it was lots of fun. The place was packed, about 60/40 Japanese to gaijin. Groovy psychedelic music played before the show, which made the whole thing feel like some kind of underground 1960s happening -- something at the Roundhouse with Mark Boyle projections, perhaps. There was a vitality, a sense of community and a vibrant optimism about it which made the phrase "Pecha kucha is the new rock and roll!" jump into my head. (Being a commercial creative myself, I tend to think in slogans. For instance, the slogan "You can't love us both!" popped into my head as a nice summary of the now-defunct Momus-Marxy skirmishes.)



I had to leave Super-Deluxe at halftime because Hisae was very ill from the previous night's binge drinking and the smoke was making it worse (when will Tokyo ban smoking?). But I managed to cram in some of the super-networking this kind of event is all about (pecha kucha means casual chatter, but if you isolated the basic unit it would be "Here, let me give you my card!"), talking to Paul Baron of the excellent Tokyo Art Beat (about to relaunch, apparently) and the man behind social networking site Asoboo.

Not all creative types are great communicators outside their chosen field, so a few of the evening's presentations (mostly the introverted architects) were incoherent mumbling. Some went too far the other way -- a very slick Japanese comedian in a sharp suit lightened the atmosphere by showing some absurdist inventions of his own devising, like gigantic elastic ramen. This pleased the otherwise subdued Japanese audience mightily. My favourite was the clothes designer who staged a fashion show of impractically practical utility garments that could be worn in lots of different directions, turned into tents or cocoons or medieval robes. I wish the Pecha Kucha website would update so I could tell you these people's names! Ah, the clothing designers were called Tokolo.

Just before staggering home with the alcohol-hobbled Hisae, I had a conversation with a designer who works for Sony, and who'd come to our Placard Headphone Concert under the trees in Yoyogi Park back in 2004. I told him I felt completely alive in Tokyo -- the city's rhythms match my own, whereas Berlin's Slow Life can get a bit too slow sometimes. The Sony man felt quite the contrary -- he was just about ready for some Berlin-style three-hour cafe sessions, and couldn't wait to get somewhere slower and gentler. Not for the first time, I felt like a Tokyoite manqué.

13CommentReply

bricology
bricology
bricology
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)

"Apparently this yin-yang, nice cop / nasty cop approach did not please Mark Dytham -- he had a hard time seeing the irony in the Click Opera piece"

Well, your ironic posts have flown over my head more than once (and elicited cranky responses from me) so perhaps your humor is more subtle than you think, or at least it's not easily understood by those unfamiliar with it. Having said that, I really do enjoy your posts like this, about your experiences in the world of other creative people. And for whatever its worth, it seems to me that Tokyo is somewhat less smoky in public places than it was a few years ago. Given that progress, I'm optimistic about its future.


ReplyThread
startrestart
startrestart
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)

You'd know better than I would, Nick, but isn't manquée the feminine form of that particular word?

If you're intentionally playing with gender roles again, as you are wont to do, then please disregard and carry on.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)

Tip of le chapeau to you, you're quite right!


ReplyThread Parent
genkanai
Gen
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 07:25 am (UTC)

Just to clarify, Paul is a founder of TAB, not Asoboo. Your post makes it seem as if Paul was behind Asoboo, but Anatole founded/runs Asoboo.


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(Anonymous)
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 10:19 am (UTC)

I think it's all a bit crammed together because he met me (http://jo3y.asoboo.com/) and Paul (http://www.in-duce.net/intro/) somewhat simultaneously. Also, I'm just a worker at The Plant (http://www.theplant.jp). Our fearless leader Anatole was probably still at the office working on Joblet (http://joblet.jp).

Joseph


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 04:11 pm (UTC)

Yes, I didn't catch Anatole's name, and the sentence turned out quite ambiguous. Thanks!


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 09:10 am (UTC)

Momus, I think you need to get a shave and a haircut. The hobo look is putting a few years on you.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)

It all depends on the lighting. The look was working better today, with a new Graniph t-shirt:


ReplyThread Parent
hexachrome
hexachrome
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 11:08 am (UTC)

I hope my (Momus selective edit) role in the original Pecha Kucha is Dead piece was explained at some point to Klein Dytham...?


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)

Mark was actually on a plane coming back from Chicago, so the PK night was presented by Astrid. I didn't speak to her. Him being displeased is just thirdhand hearsay -- he's probably forgotten about the whole thing by now.


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)

i personally very much appreciated the bad-cop peace a lot, even if only because nobody seems to be critical of these things , when there surely is a need to . (the designing class' complicity in too many bad things will have to come under scrutiny one day soon)

but you don't get popular even appreciating the , rather fair and mild , critique let alone doing it i'd imagine ..


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Jun. 1st, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)

(the designing class' complicity in too many bad things will have to come under scrutiny one day soon)

Right on. Shit, that's my quote of the year so far. Speak more, sir.

(Ton-kichi, Kichijoji)


ReplyThread Parent

(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, May. 31st, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)

It seems to be pretty much based on first come, first served. For the Tokyo one, you just apply, outlining your intended subject, to Atsuko (atsuko@klein-dytham.com) and you hear back. I don't think age comes into it. It's just whether they have a free slot that week. It's also run non-profit -- this is not the pay-to-display kind of deal that happens in all too many Tokyo creative showcases.


ReplyThread Parent