Pecha Kucha Night
Written by Doreen Manning
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Cutting through the chatter
By Doreen Manning
When artists get together to mull over their craft, one could call it idle chit chat. But when artists present their work in an organized, fluid and productive way that inspires creative action, that’s called Pecha Kucha Night.
Roughly translated from Japanese for the sound of conversation, this event for creative professionals was started in 2003 by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Japan-based Klein Dytham architecture as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work.
The Worcester segment kicks off June 14 at Bocado Tapas Wine Bar (82 Winter St.). The format is simple. A select group of creative types is chosen beforehand. Each will present 20 slides of his or her work, with 20 seconds allowed per slide, culminating in 6 minutes 40 seconds. Inspiration and discussion then follow.
When Cynthia Woehrle posted her idea on worcesterite.com to host a Pecha Kucha Night here in Worcester, fellow artist Michelle May — who had also expressed interest in hosting a PKN a few months earlier on the same blog — jumped on board. First step for the duo: research. “I was determined to find out as much as I could about this organization,” says Woehrle. Contacting other area cities like Boston and Portland that had already hosted a PKN event, and receiving great feedback, Woehrle then contacted Japan to find out how she and May could bring the event to Worcester. “We were hopeful that we could get approved and invited (Worcester Magazine News Editor) Scott Zoback to collaborate on this project; he loved the idea and signed up to help.” After a six-week wait, approval from Klein Dytham arrived and Worcester was officially added as the 196 cities in the PKN network.
Drinks and greetings begin at 7:20 p.m. followed by artists’ presentations at 8:20 p.m. (“20” is the PKN theme, as if you couldn’t tell). Name tags keep the name-game stress at bay, and a directory of speakers complete with photo profiles will be at the entrance. An MC will keep the presentation flowing, and each presenter will stand with his or her work and guide the viewer quickly through the progression of images.
With four nights committed to PKN in the coming year, the organizers have high hopes. “Not only will it expose Worcester as a cultural center, it will give us a social media voice all over the world, through the PKN website, Twitter and Facebook,” May says. “This will give artists and designers a chance to meet socially, know faces, and hopefully grow the community here in Worcester and surrounding towns. Fine artists have a forum here in town, but other designers, not so much. PKN is a great opportunity to show a little piece of your universe to Worcester, while getting people fired up. Seeing what inspires others is a very powerful tool.”
Pecha Kucha Night offers an opportunity for practitioners of all types of media — writers, filmmakers, painters, graphic designers, musicians and more — to showcase their work. “I am looking to integrate artists of all types,” shares Woehrle, “and bring them to a format where they can share ideas, projects and inspirations on the same playing field, as well as give the community an opportunity to hear perspectives from creative thinkers.”
For Woehrle, Zoback and May, the goal is the same: to promote that sense of community and foster creative ideas. So stop the chit chat, and start the inspiration.
Worcester Volume #1 at Bocado Tapas Bar, 82 Winter St., Worcester. June 14, 7:20 p.m. Free. Learn more at pecha-kucha.org; pecha-kucha.org/cities/worcester; pechakucha-worcester.blogspot.com.
again, via worcester magazine