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Pecha Kucha


Last night I trundled down to the Barbican for a Pecha Kucha evening, part of the Do Something Different Weekend, celebrating 25 years of the Barbican.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation format, mainly for creative work, originally devised by some architects in Japan. The events now happen in 42 cities around the world, at last count.

It's caught on like some kind of intervirus because the format allows each presenter 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide and they can talk about whatever they want.  So you get a flavour of each presenter and then they're gone. No chance to get bored. No death by PowerPoint. And people are talking about something important to them, which is what I assume happens when you ask someone to talk about whatever they want. 

Jatinder, the guy in the picture, spoke about the importance of beauty when protesting oppression and exhorted everyone to listen to Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday as it is the "only song of the modern age".

Like any presentation, Pecha Kucha lives and dies on the presenter and there was an interesting spectrum of styles: some read a speech from a script, some read poetry, one used the epistolary format popular in 18th century novels, and others used the conversational style of the stand-up and each style worked well, which is an good reminder to find your own style when presenting. There no one right way to talk to groups of people and get them to agree with you.

One guy spent spent his 6 minutes and 40 seconds talking about flies. One showed pictures from theatre groups in Brazilian prisons. One seemed to be obsessed by trains and returned at the end for a surprise finale, when he sang a song about being in Milton Keynes.

Although I imagine it's unlikely that client presentations could be done in this way, it did serve to remind you how much information you can communicate in a very short time and with only 20 images [no words] to visually aid you.