March 10, 2011

A Little Pecha, A Little Kucha

In and amongst flashbacks here to goings-on of the past eight months, there's still plenty enough going on in the present. To wit, last night, when I bit the bullet and hit the stage for PechaKucha Night.

(I should refine that – I bit half the bullet, since my stage-time was shared with friend Karen as we divulged on our respective photo-a-day ordeals.)

But yeah, OK. I said a funny-sounding word without a whole lotta explanation: PechaKucha (pronounced, I believe, puh-CHOCK-chaw) is a movement borne in Tokyo some years ago as a collaborative event for creative types to convene, talk – the word means "chit chat" in Japanese – and share what they're doing, and what's on their mind. Operating under the founding umbrella organization, these events are put on around the globe. Including Winnipeg, where they're organized by the good folks at the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada's (GDC) Manitoba chapter – for which I am in my fourth year of handling communications duties.

GDC Manitoba has now successfully staged five of these events, each featuring roughly a dozen speakers from all manner of creative disciplines (Kerry did one, in August). During an event, each presenter is given six minutes and 40 seconds to talk, while 20 slides run, 20 seconds a pop. This rigid formula can either drive presenters to panic and fluster, or to a fluid, tight schpiel. Either way, the thing moves. And entertains, massively. And that's what matters.

Watching over four previous editions as volunteer, co-organizer – even emcee – I've been eager to edge my way into a line-up, but never had an idea for a presentation. That was solved when Karen and myself joined forces to use PechaKucha V as a form of closure to our photography projects. Bittersweet, sure, but our time on stage in the spotlight was a real kick, lightning-fast as it was. I'd certainly do it again in a flash given the chance.

A compact collection of snaps from the event can be seen here. The next PechaKucha will be in June. I'd heartily recommend it as a thing to do, or see. It's a great display of talent.

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