PechaKucha Night

This month was the first time I attended a PechaKucha Night, a gathering of creatives and interested parties to mingle, drink and watch presentations. The cool part of the event is that any speaker can pretty much talk about anything but is limited to only 20 slides which show for 20 seconds each, making each presentation no longer than 6 minutes and 40 seconds. If anyone has even sat through a long presentation you’ll appreciate this approach, giving you insight in more fields without it ever becoming boring or, if a presentation is about something you’re not interested in you’ll know in a few minutes someone else will be speaking.

The event took place at SuperDeluxe near Roppongi Hills, an underground space where previously I had attended Danny Choo’s CGM Night. This month’s event was pretty packed, making a short trip to the toilet a bit of a Herculean task, swimming through crowds and crowds of people. This also meant that the noise was sometimes a little distracting as people kept on chatting with each other during some of the presentations. Harsh though it may sound, it is a pretty decent indication of the level of interest in your talk; if you’re being drowned out by the crowd it might be because your presentation isn’t that interesting. That said, each speaker got supportive applause and there was generally a benevolent air of interest.

The speakers came from quite a variety of backgrounds; illustration, fashion, architecture, sound engineering, charity, art, etc. Some were better at public speaking than others, most were in English, some in Japanese and after each presentation the hosts had a quick chat in both languages. Personal standouts were Josh McKible’s presentation on his Nani?bird project, a super-cool “open source” art initiative based on a simple but cute papercraft bird toy, and game developer Mark Cooke’s insane but highly entertaining experiment in creating 10 games in 10 hours (total) specifically for PechaKucha. Christian Houge’s awesome photos of Barentsburg too made for an excellent presentation, though sadly by this time, near the end of the evening, people were getting tired and restless.

PechaKucha nights are held all around the globe; in fact at this event it was mentioned they had recently started in their 200th city, quite an accomplishment. This means there might be one near you, which makes it a great opportunity to learn what fellow creatives are up to and meet new people. If they function as the Tokyo event, there are no sign-ups nor reservations needed and entry is cheap at 1000Yen, which includes a drink. Sign up for the newsletter on the home page and keep up to date on what’s happening with PK Daily.

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