I’m writing the extended version of my two minute pecha-kucha presentation at the Little Tokyo Design Week. My job was to formulate a few images into something presentable with the topic of Future City. Earlier that day, I walked through a display featuring Apollo 11 moon landing imagery from the Expo ’70. Both events were monumental and it brought me to the realization that a Future City is based on dreams.
One can only imagine what it was like to live though the space race. Technology was just getting interesting. Room sized computers did nothing that we could comprehend. By placing a man on the moon, a new generation of imagination began. My mother and father watched the live broadcast of the moon walk like almost everyone else. Two weeks later, I was born.
I showed just six slides on the outdoor stage with a huge screen that contrasted with the darkness around. I think it was the largest I ever spoke against. I had 20 seconds per slide. I picked them hastily to tell a narrative that wasn’t developed until just that day. It went something like this, although I freestyled the speech.
The first was a collection of Giant Robot Magazines. As a child, I had a dream of making a publication. I wanted to share information, curate topics, and write stories. The mini sized zine became a magazine, and then became part of a global Asian pop culture lifestyle.
The Giant Robot Store. The shop opened in 2001, and is a place where Asian pop culture could come alive. Objects from around the world and from different genres could share the shelves. People could see, talk, and live among them. Our style became a template for many stores around the world and have already spawned yet another generation of stores.
Robot Army T Shirt. I’m not a designer, but being a self taught Illustrator user, I made the Big Boss Robot icon. It’s now on shirts, caps, flyers, wall stickies, and is now a vinyl figure. It’s still in it’s infancy.
Post Its. The dream of collecting art and being part of art can get summed up with a Post It. We have an exhibition of art on Post It stickies where all of them are $20 each regardless of fame, fortune, or skill. It takes place at Giant Robot 2 where we put on monthly exhibitions often by brand new artists.
Scion Car. Toyota gave me the keys to a car and had me design one. I’m still not a real designer, but they took a chance on my idea of making a driveable video game console. It’s based on Japan’s Famicom system with a projector in the left headlight. Ideally, because it’s mobile, it’ll also be social.
JANM. The Japanese American National Museum is where we do the Giant Robot Biennale. It’s a much larger art exhibition that incorporates a much larger view and staff. Some are older, younger, and with different viewpoints and interests. We come together to present something that attracts an audience that’s equally diverse. It’s much larger than we could imagine it to be.
In two minutes, I wanted to explain to the few hundred people who sat in the Japanese Village Plaza that the “Future City” theme wasn’t necessarily a world of robots or eco-building materials. Instead of thinking too far ahead, I get excited about the process – the little steps of change that we go through to move ahead. The space race did the same. It began with the orbiting sputnik, then Laika, monkeys, and humans. Each step by the Soviets pushed the Americans and vice versa.
I also thought about NASA, which is setting itself back and retiring the Space Shuttles that’ll go on display at museums around the country. Meanwhile commercial space flights are on the brink of fulfilling more dreams. I’m always drawn to space and can’t explain why. Perhaps it’s the unlimited missions, which are basically projects. In the two minutes, I couldn’t bring up NASA, but I hoped to have fit the concept of Future City – even in a roundabout way.
Do my six slides work?
We start with a tiny idea, it grows, and maybe becomes reality. Then it turns into people’s dreams of tomorrow and changes again and again to form how we live in our cities or maybe one day, outer space.