Friday, April 25, 2008


Friend Ren Horng Yee, who presented at Pecha Kucha, with me and Ilmar, my classmate

View from the front row

Lesley Moore

Pecha Kucha in Rotterdam! There I was, yesterday night. (Yoda like...)

Having been to Rojak's and having been very impressed with jing's photograph's and boo jun feng's the changi murals, i must say pecha kucha rotterdam came across as quite a disappointment.

The evening had a foreboding start, and went on with a sequence of designers/artists who were either not able or not keen to share their work in a passionate and meaningful way. Some designers were downright bad. The selection of presenters could have been more stringent.

All was not gloom and doom however. The evening had its nice bits that overall, made the night worth it. The casual dutch atmosphere (as you can see in the photo) was one thing I thoroughly enjoyed. You can't find a more "bo chap" attitude in Singapore. The Rojak session that I attended was super-charged in quite a heady manner, what with the hosts making innuendos throughout the session; Pecha Kucha Rotterdam on the other hand felt like a really casual gathering of people with two less-than-competent-but-still-heartwarming hosts speaking in their second language, English.

The saving grace of the night was-besides my good friend Ren Horng Yee's presentation of his final project, and no this is not just a disclaimer- the works of a two-person design firm Lesley Moore. It puzzled me for some time where the name came from, since their names were not Lesley and Moore. The name of the firm is actually a pun on the phrase "Less is More"! They told me that Goethe was the one who first said it, so let's remember that, and not attribute it solely to Mies.

I was already immediately impressed by the fact that they do the layout of Mark magazine. They spoke about a series of really respectable works- a font inspired by escher's multidimensional staircase, a huge digital clock that was lit up in an analog fashion by friends turning the fluorescent lights on and off, a stencil typography that was formed by two basic shapes. A fantastic piece of work was a short clip they did for Dave Clark called White Noise. The concept is white powder exploding and arranging to form text, the white substance being an allusion to the white noise we see on screen. Conceptually very fierce!

Had a discussion with Ilmar during the break. I asked him what makes Dutch design Dutch. He observed that Dutch design has 3 characteristics:

1. Couldn't-care-less attitude
2. You have to make a joke out of everything
3. There has to be some subliminal message in the design
4. No sense of aesthetics (my addition)

I find these points really befitting Dutch designers.

The day ended with a nice chat with Karin and Alex from Lesley Moore.

Netherlands 1.06pm, signing out!