Parkland hosts PechaKucha Volume 8
Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 12:11
On Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011, Parkland College hosted Volume 8 of the interesting new presentation format called PechaKucha. Held at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium and hosted by the Parkland Art Gallery and the Champaign-Urbana Design Org, these events feature presentations of twenty slides or videos, each shown for twenty seconds in a format also referred to as the 20x20 rule, in which the presenters must keep pace with a slide timer. This makes for great fun as well as ensuring that success will rely on the personality of the presenter and the strength of their ideas.
PechaKucha is derived from a Japanese term describing the sound of chit chat, according to the PechaKucha website. The format originated in Japan in 2003 when two Japanese based businessmen, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham envisioned a venue where young designers could meet together, share their work, exchange ideas, and network with each other. PechaKucha style was widely used during the response to the tragic tsunami which occurred in March of this year, and has since spread internationally to more than 445 cities.
Since its unexpected popularity, the founders had applied strict rules about holding events with the trademarked name, but the organization was able to obtain permission for the city of Champaign, making it the 217th city worldwide and one of the smallest areas at the time to be allowed to hold the function. Presenters over the years have included many local personalities and entrepreneurs who have a passion about their business or hobby, or who just have a story to tell. Limited to six minutes and 40 seconds, presenters must tell their story in a fast paced and concise manner.
"There are so many different unexpected stories out there, but the topic isn't as important as the presentation," said Parkland graphic design graduate, Michael Morgan, co-chair of the event and a past presenter. "Often, the dry sounding topics turn out to be the best presentations, like Nick Jaworski, a few shows ago, talking about the state of music education in the country. It sounds like a dry subject but he turned it into something powerful, touching and insightful."
This event's lineup included Lisa Bralts-Kelly, host of the radio program "In My Garden" on WILL, who presented "Telling C-U's Local Food Stories." She was followed by the founder of the recently launched CUVolunteer.org, Sara Zehr, who shared "The CUVolunteer.org Story." DJ Brian Mertz revealed his "Confessions of a Vinyl Addict," in which he referred to records as "black crack," and went on to divulge that his all-time favorite piece of vinyl is an album in the shape of Dick Chaney's head.
Other presentations included artist Nicki Werner, who talked about her obsession with sharing a birthday with actress/singer, Hillary Duff, and a local video game enthusiast, Tyler Penrod, who defended games as an art form against Roger Ebert, who recently stated that they will never be considered art. In addition, art revolutionary, Eric Burton, also presented.
Volume 8 of the event also marked its first repeat performer, Joanne Manaster. A former model, this science educator was invited to watch the final space shuttle launch and tweet about it. Her new presentation, "The Last Shuttle Launch," shared her experience as one of 155 NASA launch guests, where she was treated to many exclusive sights and experiences which she then documented in tweets and video.
"The presentations follow a pattern of what you are passionate about," said Maya Bruck, president of the Champaign Urbana Design Org. "It is a learning experience for everyone who participates." Anyone can be a presenter as long as they are passionate to the point of distraction about their topic, she said.
Parkland Art Gallery Director, Lisa Costello, thinks that these events are a good thing for the college. "We are dealing with people in the community with a different creative innovation during a global movement event," she said. "We feel we have a unique space to offer for a unique event." She hopes to be allowed to co-host more of these events in the future.
The concept was brought to Champaign by Christina Tapp, co-founder of the Champaign-Urbana Design Org. She was excited after she attended an event using the format in Budapest, Hungary. Upon her return, she and her organization found that a similar presentation was scheduled in Chicago and decided to contact the creators of PechaKucha about hosting one of their own.