By Michelle Mckenna
At the outset of Day 2, the Inspiration Truck raced towards us with ferocious speed, all audience members firmly in the tractor-beams of awe, steered with the precision and grace you’d expect from one of Van Damme’s Volvos. (Watch this if you haven’t seen it).
This continued happily for some time, after which the truck was tragically hijacked by a learner driver who spent the rest of the day flicking the lights onto bright, over-correcting and switching them off completely andthen switching on the windscreen wipers before ploughing through a herd of dozing cattle, before finding the brights again. Sorry audience, I just referred to you as livestock.
But that said, those bright moments were again pretty darn dazzling, and I am proud to present a few more accolades under the broad category of My-Opinion-Only-and-What Do-I-Know-Anyway.
I’ll kick off with the prize for BEST ORIGINAL SCORE for an AV presentation, which goes to opening speaker, DJ Stout. This may seem like an obvious award, until I point out that DJ Stout is a stetson-wearing Texan, who is as much like a DJ as Margaret Thatcher. What he is like, however, is a graphic designer and art director at Pentagram (the world’s biggest stand-alone design consultancy) who seems to have lugged a piano across the Atlantic for the occasion.
From said piano came some of the most poignant, soul-stirring piano music I have ever heard (and that’s saying a lot because usually I find piano music-bowel stirring only), played by a mysterious long-haired fella called Graham Reynolds.
This soundtrack, (created at times by pulling at the keys from the INSIDE of the open piano and
I forget the actual relevance of this but it was a spectacularly mesmerising intro, and when my brain switched on again, DJ Stout was introducing the audience to the very offbeat phenomenon of the Cowboy Poet, which bears a little google-lookey-into-ing, off you go.
Of course he had some pretty cool work to show as well, but his main point, which became a common thread for the day was: be from somewhere, (him: Texas, obviously) and make your work like you’re proud to be from that somewhere.
Picking up that theme, (and along with it, the drumsticks idly lying on the stage for the lunchtime performers) was the winner of the IMPROMPTU DRUM SESSION AWARD: Michel Rojkind. This cool Mexican Architect gave an interesting talk about overcoming (brilliantly) the challenges of building amazing things in a country where, from one election to the next, presidents seem to abandon the previous guy-in-charge’s sanctioned projects, causing architects and often uneducated and unsophisticated audience.
- Be simple. BUT, (and here’s the thing)
- Be unpredictable.
Or, put another way: Be obvious. But be obvious for the first time. Fancy that.
Some HONOURABLE MENTIONS:
• Clive Wilkinson (LA architect andstrategist), for his “Barbarian Group” workspace design amongst others. See the video here.
• Zanele Muholi (South African photographer), for her passion in championing anti-violence, respect and tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual andconceptual art is just not my thing and I’m too simple-minded to get all of that higher-purpose meaning. But I think I’m okay with please not seeing that again.
And for the closing speaker: Lauren Beukes. Although I highly respect the lady’s literary genius, and found her talk very slick, polished and deliberately unconventional, I couldn’t help feeling the joy sucked out of the day by her violence of potential talk.
Excellent. Now if you’ll excuse me, all this award bestowing business is exhausting and I need some intensive zedding to prep for that one last glorious dash into the floodlit brilliance that is Design Indaba Day 3.