Blindness of Power

140 West Plaza: Exhale

140 West Plaza: Exhale – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

When Mikyoung finished her presentation, her call for questions resulted in a strange stillness. Maybe it was the lack of light that kept her in that moment of power: everyone else could remain hidden in the comfort of their silence. However, Ms. Kim’s care for her audience stayed: she inquired who in the room were students, who were architects and so on. By then I was already heading out so that I could contemplate the parts of the lecture I enjoyed.

I remember, as a student going to presentations by guest designers, waiting for words of wisdom from the esteemed achievers. Like many of my peers I am curious to see what other designers are doing. A person on stage has a moment of power when attention is directed to them. What I have to say and how I say it is an opportunity to cultivate a message.

Yet standing on stage can be intimidating. Not everyone might like what I have to say, to show. My audience can be a reflection of my inner critic. The louder that inner voice is – the bigger the fear. That fear can be blinding. It can obscure my sight of the people who took the time to direct their attention to me.


Farrar Pond Project – FlexFENCE

When Mikyoung Kim stepped onto the stage she started by addressing the context of an audience waiting to hear the words of the accomplished personality. We all start our lives looking to others for reference. Whether it’s the only issue that interests me or not, how to make money out of my skills is a big one. Looking for words, Mikyoung seemed to struggle a bit at first in addressing that balance between aspirations and reality: saying no to a client is one of the hardest things.

Alluding to the fact that she was also a beginner at one point, her words meandered between comfort and encouragement. I appreciate Mikyoung’s effort of presenting a meaningful story. But when you’re on stage you are the story. Even better than that, you are the message.

The work of Mikyoung Kim Design is inspiring. You can get a sense of what it is from the firm’s website and other sources on the web. In her talk, Mikyoung also shared some ‘behind the scenes’ stories that enhanced the visuals in her slides. For me this is usually the better part of presentations. We can all see the details, but how you got there is what we’re here to absorb.

Many in the audience in SALA Lectures are students of the school. But whenever I go, I see other practitioners from the field, beginners as well as veterans. I am always curious to see and hear what other people have to share. However, what intrigues me beyond the immediate encounter, is that interface between intention and result, expectations and outcome.

Horizon Garden - Providence, LI

Horizon Garden – Providence, Rhode Island

Standing on stage is a position of blindness. You present your show and hardly see your audience in most cases. You definitely can’t see the impression you’ve had on their minds. If you practice your show, then stepping from first impressions to conclusion can work to your benefit. Mikyoung Kim advocates finding authenticity. If you don’t see your audience you still have yourself, which in her case is a lot.

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