Pecha Kucha is a brilliant night where 12 artists have seven minutes to talk as much about their work while 20 of their slides are played every 20 seconds. Seems pretty interesting right? Well it was fantastic. These nights happen regularly and luckily three times a year in Dundee, where local artists and artists all over the world showcase their work. This years final Pecha Kucha night did not disappoint.
As I walk into the Bonar Hall there is a certain buzz about the audience. We are all here with a similar curiosity about what is to come and the potential inspiration we can take from the night. Not surprisingly, I forget my glasses and I made my friends sit in the second row with me. However this slight set back (my lack of vision) meant I could take some snaps of the slides up close and the brilliant work that was being showcased.
First up is Erik sou. He arrives on stage wearing a sci-fi helmet and I’m a little intrigued to what it does. It turns that this wearable contraption is actually a touch operated camera. If you touch his hand, the shutters on the eyelids open and he can now see. Then the shutter goes off again after ten seconds of eye contact and the camera takes a photo of you.
I am very amused to find out the camera is called touchy. It seems to be a very simple yet effective design as it explores the human fixation with eye contact and the importance of social interaction. He goes on to say that technology is so dehumanised now that he wants to see more offline communication and stresses the power of togetherness. I couldn’t agree more. The camera has now visited dozens of countries and Erik has shown Touchy to all types of audiences. It is particularly touching to hear that people who have learning difficulties or blind people have loved the camera and brings genuine joy to everyone the machine touches. I even had the pleasure of trying it on! The camera holds memory see you can even find the pictures ‘Touchy’ takes on Facebook.
To find more information about Touchy head to –
Richard parka is second. He is a pathologist at nine wells and tells us he spends a lot of time looking at cells and microscopes. I am definitely intrigued at this point to see what his talk has to do with art. Richard diagnoses cancer for a living and unfortunately he tells us by twenty twenty, fifty percent of people will have cancer. This makes everyone squirm in their seats a little but he manages to make a light hearted joke and calm everyone down. He goes on to say it’s a very complex disease and is difficult to access and even harder understand. To make matters worse, no two cancers are the same and there are hundreds are out there.
Just as I was about to lose all hope for mankind, Richard explains the importance of visual art to illustrate cancerous cells and these diagrams can vastly improve and speed up the learning process for students and doctors. It is quite astondoung that art and design can actually help learning and solve such a monstrous disease such as cancer. The learning process of becoming a doctor or a pathologist is also an incredibly visual process. The pity is not enough of us are doing it and teaching itself needs to change also. There needs to be less mundane text books and more visually stimulating illustrations simplifying parts of the body such as complex cellular structures. Who knew that design could cross pathways and delve into the realms of medical research!
Adriana Lippy is a graduate from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and has created stunning illustrations and animations to do with vascular and cellular actions and acute inflammation. Her work is really something. I’d definitely check out her website.
After a few talks, a duo walk on stage. They both seem very cool and pull off wearing hats indoors. They go on to say they are called Mike and Katie and own a company called HELL YEAH. They focus on designing site specific installations (ie. drawing on big walls) and not only do commercial projects but paint eye catching murals all over Britain.
They can spend over five days on just one wall and it doesn’t always start out well. some projects, It can take days for a large scale drawing to come together and a lot of patience. What really inspires me about Mike and Katie is their passion for doing something bigger than painting pretty walls. They want to see a city being totally transformed with colours and shapes everywhere in Scotland. They want to inject culture into a street that would otherwise would look lifeless and mundane.
It comes to my attention that whenever I go abroad, the street art is something I appreciate and look out for. Take the John Lennon wall in Prague for instance. After all it is only a graffitied wall, but the wall is amongst stunning architecture and is there for a purpose. (It also looks quite cool.)
Public art is also interactive. Art galleries can sometimes be intimidating for an individual not immersed in a creative culture. It is also a contrived way showing spaces and doesn’t interact with its surrounding. A gallery is an enclosed space that a select of amount of people can be in. Absolutely anyone can appreciate street art and furthermore, when people watch the creation of a mural they feel more sentimentally involved. I can tell that Mike and Katie are passionate but also enjoy what they do. They stress that the process of making should be fun and lastly we should have pride in our cities!
Find out more about Mike and Katie on their Facebook page and website –
Lastly I would like to talk about one of my favourite talks of the night. Ryan Macleod owns an digital design company and vows ‘never to be beige’. I instantly become interested in his work when he exclaims his designs aren’t client driven. Instead, he creates projects that are fun and interesting and passionately tell us ‘there is not enough stupid stuff on the internet and that we have to take ourselves less seriously.
‘OOTSIDE’ is project of his launching next week. It is a browser extension for chrome and a background. It’s about the weather. Scottish weather. Just when you think the project couldn’t get more boring, it seems to become bleak as well.
However, this thought only last for a couple of seconds as he explains the purpose and originality for this online weather service. As you can see below it doesn’t really need explaining. What I will say is that the services turns checking the weather, an otherwise tedious experience, in to a fun service that makes you laugh and be proud to be Scottish at the same time.
The wonderful attribute that Ryan has is his potential to see a fun idea and run with it. He creates for the sake of creating not just for the money. It takes an innovator like Ryan to see there is ‘A lot of amazing people in room. Lets work together more and make more stupid things together!’
Follow Ryan on twitter or visit his website on
On that introspective note I will leave you pondering these four talks I have left you with. Who knew that ‘Touchy’ the camera, a pathologist, mural makers and a weather man all have one thing in common; design.