PechaKucha Night reinvigorates the creative lecture, offering buffet of insightand inspiration
Funny name, serious creativity
Imagine getting a seven-minute, self-narrated, glimpse into the creative processes and inspirations of not one, but twelve, accomplished artists… all while drinking a good beer in a unique venue surrounded by like-minded members of the local creative community. Sounds cool, right? Well, that’s PechaKucha Night—one of the most interesting, highly anticipated and well-attended local events, lauded for its laid-back atmosphere, idea-inducing content and creative crowd.
PechaKucha is a night of creative inspiration, storytelling and camaraderie—for all involved. The event consists of a group of hand-picked presenters, all accomplished in their fields or areas of expertise, sharing the secrets of their craft.
The event originated in Tokyo in 2003, and was founded by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture as an innovative way for creative professionals to talk about and share their work—within certain pre-determined parameters. In the case of PechaKucha, the parameters were established to minimize (maximize?) the time an artist would be given to discuss their work and/or creative process, forcing them to edit both their showcase and their story. The idea was broadly appealing and instantly successful. Today, PechaKucha Nights take place in 451 cities around the world.
PechaKucha + Austin
Thursday evening marks the 12th installment (“volume”) of Austin’s PechaKucha Night (the first was in 2007), and promises to dish an array of interesting talks from the following twelve artists:
(in order of appearance)
- Herman Dyal, architect
- Alyson Fox, fine artist
- Jay B. Sauceda, photographer
- Ashley Chiles, producer/director
- Bale Creek Allen, artist*
- Andrew Yates, Karen Yates & Mike Woolf, filmmakers
- Connie Arismendi, sculptor
- Will Hornaday, culture
- Katy Vine, writer
- Robert Kraft, musician
*intermission to follow Bale Creek Allen
20x20: the art of the time limit
Each artist at PechaKucha Night is tasked with creating a visual slide-show accompaniment to their spoken narrative. The presentation is structured as such: each person has exactly 20 seconds to speak about each of their 20 slides. Those are the PechaKucha parameters.
Although each presentation may not last for an extensive amount of time (merely 400 seconds), it poses a unique challenge nonetheless. The rapid-fire performance style is a creative product in and of itself. The result is always entertaining—captivating audiences with each artist’s seemingly hurried tour through their portfolio of personal inspirations.
PK vs. TED
Many think of it as a creative, less didactic, version of the popular TED talks. The difference between TED and PechaKucha however, exists in the fundamental hierarchy, or lack thereof, of knowledge sharing. As explained by the PechaKucha website, “TED is top down, PechaKucha is bottom up!”
Both TED and PechaKucha celebrate accomplished individuals in their fields, but presumably the difference is that with PechaKucha, the public is invited along for a rare view of the ideation process—the formative experiences that shape an artist’s work. That, and the fact that there is an inherent sense of energy and excitement in the quirky presentation format, an element of improv and surprise that doesn’t generally happen in a TED talk.
Sneak peek: Alyson Fox
While presenter Alyson Fox, a local fine artist (with additional accomplishments ranging from jewelry to design), is looking forward to checking out the work of her peers, she is also curious to see how she’ll fare within the set constraints.
“I’m excited about seeing all of the other presenters’ work and seeing how I’ll flow with a 20 second pace!”
Fox, who recently published her Shade of Red photographic project, plans to give attendees a glimpse into that process as well as another of her photographic series, with the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of both.
“I decided it would be best if I narrowed it down to one medium, so I chose photography because it's the first medium I concentrated on in school… and these are two projects that I have worked on alongside each other for the last three to four years.”
This edition of PechaKucha Nights is also tied in with the East Austin Studio Tour, given the fact that its 916 Springdale Road locale is an official E.A.S.T. hub, and a stop on the tour (a former Goodwill Center). The event is free and open to the public, but there is usually a suggested donation in exchange for the limited-edition poster designed specifically for the event.
But be warned—it fills up fast, and once the building hits capacity, the crowd is capped.
PechaKucha Night Vol. 12 will be held Thursday, November 17th at 8:30 p.m. at 916 Springdale Road. Doors open at 7:30, program starts promptly at 8:20. Follow @PechaKuchaATX for updates.