I’m Presenting at Pecha Kucha Night in Chicago, June 2nd

About a year ago (in July of 2008), I heard about an event called Pecha Kucha Night – a gathering where designers got together to share ideas using a pretty unique and interesting format.

The term Pecha Kucha comes from a Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”). I’ve heard a few approaches to the pronunciation, and I’m not 100% sure which one is the “correct” one. I’ve heard a four-syllable take (PAY-cha COO-cha) and I’ve also heard a three-syllable take (peh CHACH ka). Though it feels odd, I’m leaning towards the three-syllable approach, which I think is truer to the Japanese.

Conceived by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham (Klein Dytham architecture), the original idea was to provide a format for designers/architects to share their ideas and work with one another.

But to limit the possibility that people might drone on and on, they set up rules for the presentations: 20 images, 20 seconds each. Every presentation would follow the exact same format, and last a total of six minutes, forty seconds.

While the first event took place in 2003 in Tokyo, it’s since exploded and now takes place regularly in over 180 cities, worldwide. And one of those cities happens to be Chicago.

After checking out the official site, I found myself wanting to participate. I sent in an email expressing an interest in presenting… and was notifited that there was a waitlist of about 50 other “interested” presenters. And that I was on the list, so to speak.

Fast forward about nine months. Earlier this week, I got an email from Peter Exley, one of the organizers for Pecha Kucha Night Chicago. It was an invitation to present at the upcoming Volume 9 event in June.

My immediate reaction was one of uncertainty and nervousness. I had completely forgotten about my original interest, and nearly a year later I was being asked to give a presentation. I had a rough outline of a topic, and began to wonder “do I have enough to make six minutes and forty seconds?”

One of my bigger concerns was that I hadn’t yet attended a Pecha Kucha event in Chicago, to get a sense of how things all worked. When I expressed this worry to Peter, he gave me the option to either dive right in for the June event… or to attend the June event as a spectator, and present at the next gathering in September.

While I would prefer to have experienced at least one event, September is a bad month. Liz and I are getting married on September 12th, and the idea of also having to prep for something like this is an added stress that I don’t think I want in the mix. So that made my decision a little easier, in terms of the June event.

To be honest, the more I thought about the process and the idea of presenting… I got pretty excited. My worries and concerns dropped away, and I just began to get impatient. The idea of having to wait until September (logistics aside) wasn’t appealing to me. I really felt like I wanted to dive in, step up to the plate and swing.

// Edit: Just realized I mixed scuba and baseball into the same sentence, to try to make a point. Yeesh, I need coffee.

I found out from Peter that the list of interested speakers is now somewhere around 100, and for each event a group of 10 are selected (usually a mixture of folks, varying in terms of age, discipline, etc). Hearing that there was something of a review process made me feel incredibly flattered that I was asked to present. And seeing how there was only one event every few months – that made it even more flattering.

My original intent was to talk mostly about my Flash experiments. While I’m still interested in talking about the experiments, I don’t want the presentation to become some kind of masturbatory, self-indulgent “look at me and the stuff I made” kind of talk.

Taking a few steps back, I’m finding myself wanting to focus on the topic of Reptition and Variation. It’s something I’ve mentioned a fair amount on the blog, and it’s something that I think ties in nicely with some of my later Flash projects.

In fact, the more I started thinking on the topic, the more ideas and connections I’ve seen. Whereas I was worried about filling 6:40 before, I’m now starting to see portions of my presentation forming in my head. I’m noticing a lot of great examples to draw from, over a wide range of area/disciplines, and I’m excited.

Thing are still in the incubation stage, but I expect I’ll start taking pen to paper soon. The more I think about the upcoming presentation, the more I’m looking forward to it.

Pecha Kucha Night Chicago will take place on June 2nd. I’ll likely be really, really nervous before I talk… and really, really enjoying my beer after I talk. If you’re inclined to attend, I’d love to see you there.

Pecha Kucha Night Chicago
Date: June 2nd, 2009
Time: 8PM
Tickets: $10 at the door, 21 and over
Location: Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln Avenue

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Congrats man that’s so awesome! This sounds very intriguing I think I would attend such an event.Also if you’ll allow me to be a dork for a second I believe by Japanese dialect standards it is most likely pronounced in the 4 syllables, (PAY-cha COO-cha). Sorry had to mention it :)

    Justin Siddons Reply

  2. For the night I’ll be presenting, you can purchase tickets here.I’ll defer to your Japanese, as you’re currently enrolled in one more class than me. Both variations sound pleasant to me, but you probably know best.Hope you can make it out!

    avoision Reply

  3. Awesome! Congratulations!

    Brian Reply

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