Review: Pecha Kucha Night Kuwait, 3rd Edition

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First of all, I must commend the event organizers for Pecha Kucha last night. Hosting the event along the sea was an amazing experience, and I really appreciate the lighting, tables, musical accompaniment and buffet that followed. Hats off for sure. The tech people, however, were slacking off a bit as the sound system went in and out on some speakers and it seems some presentations did not load correctly.

Unfortunately, I did not get a copy of the programme line-up with biographies on the speakers, so I am having to remember all the speakers from memory which is not my strongest suite, but I will try.

One immediate realization was the low number of speakers set to present: only 2/3 the amount of the first Pecha Kucha. While the organizers did a good job of filling the time with a musical performance (such a rarity in Kuwait!) during an intermission, all of us need to pitch in to work harder on brainstorming and volunteering for future presentations.

On to the presenters, Farah Behbehani did an intelligent presentation on several different themes and ways of turning around simple observations, steps, letters, characters or numbers into something more creative.

She showed how she noted us how she had tracked the different movements of two tango dancers over a two minute period (I believe?) and turned it into a chart, which sounds reminiscent of a very cool idea by one of my favorite musical artists M.I.A. who turned charts on economic and human development (child mortality rates, unemployment, etc) and turned them into a phrase: SUM LIFE and then made it neon and incorporated it into the stage design of her concert tour. That's the kind of out of the box thinking Kuwait needs!

Her work on the alphabet tree was also quite intriguing and her presentation made me leaving the event definately wishing I could get a copy of the book she made for her master's thesis. Great opening.

Next came blogger and Spaniard-despite-the-nam, Ismael Abedin who provided us with a photodocumentation of his experience moving to Kuwait from an expat's point of view. The title of the presentation was called Streetlife in Kuwait and attempted to look at a neglected side of Kuwait, the spaces in between buildings which tend to be dismissed as negative space rather than having a merit or culture of their own.

However, mid-way through his presentation he began to take a different tone, focusing on pollution of the desert, mistreatment and discrimination of other nationalities, the youth problem, and it might have come accross too preachy for citizens to stomach coming from a non-Kuwaiti.

Dana al-Hasan spoke passionately, but it seemed to be more of a premonitionary tip-of-the-tongue tangled abstract urban nebulous concept that she had a hard time concretizing into a definition and examples to make her ideas more tangible. I did not really get an understanding of what she meant to convey and her one example of turning an Macy's into an Opera House went so quickly that I think it did an injustice to her presentation by making the audience more confused than giving a clarificaiton.

Fared Abdel I believe was the guy who shot photographs of children around the world. The photographs were beautiful but I did not understand the presentation since it was an Arabic, and its really unfortunate for me. I wish I knew Arabic better. My suggestion to him is that he does a project on bedoon children here in Kuwait. He has the skills and talent and the experience.

Mr. Loaay Ahmed's presentation was fascinating but unfortunately it was a bit overshadowed due to the fact that the first presenter had also showcased calligraphy artwork. However, his cross-pollination of cultures relating Chinese characters to Arabic, and his detail of the history of the origins of our alphabet characters in daily objects (a subject I am very interested in) I really appreciated. It was only a few weeks ago that I was looking up the pictorial history of the alphabet letters on the internet.

Lastly, TEDDY B and his fuzzy wuzzy goodness! Wow! Excellent presentation, infusing the event with the emotional appeal that it really needed and leaving people empowered by demonstrating how the simplest of acts (one photo a day) by the most unlikely of small heroes (a teddy bear) can go so far and be seen by so many people. It was amazing!!!! Also, the marketing campaign of distributing teddy bear shaped business cards was a nice touch. Which one of those nice people passing them out is Teddy B? Or was the person behind Teddy B in the audience? Was she the voice heard in the presentation? The mystery certainly adds to the allure. One small thing though: no shout-outs to fellow fierce, plush homie Turtle T? Where's the love?

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