MIT Media Lab at Tokyo Designers Week


MIT Media Lab was hosting a special forum at The Tokyo Designers Week 2013 which was being held at Jingu Gaien, so I went over to attend the afternoon session on the second day to listen to Prof Hiroshi Ishii, the associate director of MIT Media Lab. He gave a 90 minute talk titled ‘Remembering the Future’.

Prof. Ishii’s presentation was a delight to watch, with his passion showing through in the perfect content and delivery. Although I was totally convinced, the questions from the youthful audience during the Q&A session suggested otherwise, as many questions failed to follow up on what Mr. Ishii had to say. It’s important to be more daring and ask challenging questions.

Because Prof.Ishii is so serious and passionate, he met these lukewarm questions with a  dissatisfied look (as if to say ‘why ask such a question?’) . It was only natural that he was unable to answer some questions. Since I was in the front row, I was asked for my reaction 2 or 3 times, to which I responded with examples of Ishii’s inspirational words and what I had understood. Truly, his lecture was meant to be understood not through the head but through the heart.

After this lecture, there were two panel discussions with Mr. Ishii and Mr. Kenichiro Mogi, along with a guest and Mr Nobuyuki Hayashi acting as moderator.

The first guest was Yuji Hara ( links in Japanese 1, 2), who dropped out of university to become a martial artist before going on to start a 3D printing business. He was followed by Kuma Kengo, an architect who talked about using wood as a material in his architecture. Both of them gave talks based on their own personal experiences, and Mr. Hara’s talk in particular involved travels around the world, resulting in a very physical, very sensory account which was quite refreshing.Perhaps engaging the right side of the brain might have produced more memorable impressions.