APRIL 30, 2009
PKN Providence Vol. 2
PechaKucha Night returned to Providence last week for Vol. 2, and organizer Stephanie Gerson provides us with a nice round-up of what went on.
As was the first, the second Pecha Kucha night in Providence was a gorgeous success! It went down on April 22nd, which happened to be Earth Day, so the theme was (fittingly) green and the venue was a beautiful sustainably built studio -- the builder himself, a sustainable designer named John Jacobson, gave a presentation about the venue. Oh and we started the night with a big Happy Earth Day cheer.
Las month for volume 1, I wanted to leave the crowd hungry, so I only gave them eight presentations. This month for volume 2, I wanted to give them more, though I was a little worried about throwing a whopping eleven presentations at them....BUT THEY ATE IT. And they Loved it. The crowd stuck around until the very last presentation, and afterwards continued shmoozing with each other and our illustrious presenters.
Speaking of, we had a fantastic and fantastically diverse lineup. Sami Nerenberg, the youngest adjunct faculty at RISD and teacher of Design for Social Entrepreneurship, showed her work with local communities to design more beautiful and healthy living environments. With Obama as a major source of inspiration, she imported the field of community organizing into design, describing her work as community designing.
Alyn Carlson, a graphic designer, fine artist, and actor, told a more intimate story, taking us through the personal experiences that lead her to watercolors, describing how her relationship with water implicates her relationship wtih watercolor, and exhibiting the stunning work she does with the medium. Whatever stereotypes we may have had about watercolors being used to paint only the likes of flower bouquets and sunset landscapes, Alyn kindly demolished them.
But I think the most captivating Pecha Kucha presentation of the night, and quite possibly the most captivating I've ever seen (...and not only because he's my beau), was given by Brown Master's in Public Health student Nathaniel Lepp. His presentation was grandiosely titled "Triboluminescence, Marijuana, and the Future of American democracy," but he lived up to it, taking us on a ride through the physical, psychological, and even spiritual health benefits of marijuana, its ambiguity vis-a-vis established scientific taxonomies, and the history of its illegalization to the point of militarization (yes, men in fatigues go after the plant). But he concluded with a message of hope, describing the work of RIPAC, an organization he co-founded which successfully helped Rhode Island legalize the medical use of marijuana. It was not only the content of his presentation that got us going, but the intensity of his voice and how it danced with his slides -- the hallmark of any successful PK presentation.
What a wonderful volume 2, and I look forward to volume 3!