Pecha Kucha Columbus

Have you heard about Pecha Kucha Night? If you haven’t then you’ve been missing a lot. Pecha Kucha is a night like no other. Taking place in 230 cities across the world, Pecha Kucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of “chit chat,” it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

Twenty seconds? Are you kidding me. How can you get a message across in twenty seconds?

Think speed dating . Or better yet, an elevator pitch. You catch the CEO of your dream job in an elevator and you have twenty seconds to make an impression. That is the spirit of Pecha Kucha Night. Except at Pecha Kucha you get twenty chances to get your pitch across.

Last night was the 16th Pecha Kucha Night in my fair city of Columbus, Ohio. A crowd of about 500 was on hand to see eleven of these little “chit chats.” It was awesome. The first presenter was Jeff Sims, the videographer from the host site, Columbus Museum of Art. He specializes in documenting the various installations and guest artists who exhibit at the museum.

Next up were two “friends of friends” Rachel and Heidi from OpenheartArt. They could best be described as creative educators and performers who use music, theatre, and body puppets to teach and inspire kids to live the artful life.

Julia Applegate and Liv Gjestvang gave a funny talk about their two-year quest to get pregnant.

School planner Christian Long gave an inspired presentation about new ideas in school design. The crux is that there is no one cookie-cutter way to teach and learn, classrooms and curriculum should be designed to adapt on the fly to get the most of every minute of face time.

Amy Turn Sharp’s presentation was about keeping the creative flame burning through life’s twists and turns.

Tim Lai talked about the new wave of green architecture. His firm designs one-of-a-kind living and working spaces that balance concept, function and beauty. His work is quite a contrast to the one-size-fits-all standard that has been the trend in building for the last thirty years.

The Columbus Idea Foundry was presented by Alex Bandar. The Foundry offers classes and resources to help everyman conceive and execute a creative project from design to fabrication. They have offered classes in blade-smithing, building a contact microphone, making a mechanical iris, and an upcoming one on sand-casting aluminum. They also put on the Ohio Tool Racing Championships. Wow!

Next up was Marianna Kerppola from the International Design Collaborative and Nationwide. She talked about using social and local networking to foster sustainable micro-enterprises.

The Ely Brothers Photography (Caleb and Levi) gave an inspired talk about starting a business on the cheap. They touched on building websites, business cards, proper cell phone usage, social networking, and bartering on a budget. “I’ll trade some photographs for a new office chair, hint, hint…” was one of the best lines of the night.

Tristan Seufert of the local music dynamo Shin Tower Music talked about the Columbus Music Scene and the possibilities for the future. Tristan spoke to the fact that we all love our city and it is our responsibility to get the word out to the world about our local bands. He suggested that our current brand of collaborating and genre-bending is cutting edge in a world where new music is just a click away. He also pointed to the VIA festival in Pittsburgh as a blueprint for our coming out party.

Last up was the developer of CORNIFY.COM, Christoph Ono. If you don’t know about CORNIFY, you probably will in the near future. It is an innovative website that puts fun on any page you happen to visit. People like unicorns and rainbows. Who knew?

Musical groups WAY YES and the OSU NEW MUSIC COLLECTIVE provided the preshow and intermission entertainment.

Pecha Kucha Nights happen daily all around the world. If you see a PKN pop up on your radar screen stop by and take it in. I guarantee you’ll be amazed and inspired. I know I was.

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