Nine artists presented their work at the Prichard Art Gallery, which usually houses paintings, photography and architecture. But Thursday, these artists only had 20 seconds to impress, as they shared quick-hit art in the Japanese Pechakucha style.
Pechakucha, the Japanese word for “chit chat,” is a presentation methodology in which 20 slides are shown to an audience for 20 seconds each, for a total of six minutes and 40 seconds.
Stacy Isenbarger, sculpture and foundations coordinator at the College of Art and Architecture, said the event was to showcase ideas — and to challenge the presenter.
“There are various approaches — community driven, or art practices,” Isenbarger said.
During the 20-second period, presenters got creative. Video clips, images and artwork were all acceptable. The PowerPoint played and the presenter fit what they said to what was seen.
“It creates an environment in the audience where people know there is a challenge and a pressure,” Isenbarger said. “So the audience will actually laugh with you if you screw up.”
The group of architects who created Pechakucha in Tokyo in 2003 suggested the event take place downtown to aid in networking opportunities for presenters, Isenbarger said. “They hope that little bit of information you give creates a network for you,” Isenbarger said. “Someone in the crowd comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, what a great idea. I’ve been thinking about the same thing.'”
Pechakucha began when a group of architects wanted to showcase their ideas in a short period of time, but found sharing this time difficult. They challenged themselves to complete their ideas in 20 slides in 20 seconds each. Six minutes and 40 seconds later, the first Pechakucha presenter was created.
“It’s just in the spirit of sharing,” Isenbarger said. “We’ve been trying to collect interest from people on the Palouse.”
More than 120 people attended the third volume of Pechakucha Night last summer, said Nara Woodland, assistant director of the Prichard Art Gallery.
“Pechakucha night is a wonderful platform for people to share images quickly,” Woodland said.
Avery Worrell, a UI senior in graphic design, presented his idea for an app on Pechakucha Night Thursday.
Worrell said his app, Fun Brigade, is essentially an iPhone application that calls people out on their obsession with smart phones and offers a solution. Since social networking is running rampant, he said the idea is to join people using proximity and a points system.
“Most people really want that connection, they’re just afraid,” he said.
Fun Brigade will randomly pair a user with others in the area, and then deliver a task for them to physically complete. Creating a secret handshake, for instance, will give a user points and allow them to level-up, Worrell said.
He said it reminds players that small talk and meeting people in public is OK.
“If you see someone on the street, it’s okay to smile,” Worrell said.
Worrell said he was nervous about presenting his idea in such a short period of time.
“It’s a really tight time frame,” Worrell said. “I hope I can get the idea across really fast.”
This challenge is what Pechakucha is all about, Isenbarger said.
Bryce Blankenship, a graduate student at UI who will finish his master’s in philosophy in May, also presented at Pechakucha Night.
With his project, “My Shortened Importance of Philosophy,” Blankenship said he hoped to show the audience philosophy is interesting and can even be practical, in addition to examining the relationship between identity and career.
“This is a good medium to have ideas expressed,” Blankenship said, of Pechakucha.
Though he was initially reluctant, Blankenship said he viewed it as a challenge and took on the task to expand his presentation skills.
“I can give 50-minute lectures,” Blankenship said. “But haven’t given many presentations about what I think.”
Pechakucha Nights are practiced in more than 500 cities around the world.
“We would definitely like to continue it in the future. It’s a popular event and it’s a lot of fun,” Woodland said.
Alycia Rock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org