Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pecha Kucha Beijing, 18 May 2008

It is barely an hour after the event when I decided to blog about it here, before I forget what this largely unmemorable series of lectures was about.

Pecha Kucha, as the name suggests (you can find the background of how this name came about on the web, I’m pretty sure, as it has been widely publicised..) is chit-chat in japanese. The lectures i just sat through (figure of speech, really, since I was standing the whole time due to the lack of seats *poor planning!*) was simply it - random chit chat. Nothing rigourous. Not even remotely. Not most of it anyway. Most of the speakers (except, maybe Neville Mars and Gregor Hoheisel from Graft) could hardly get past advertising their wares. There was even a Chinese Architectural Magazine Editor who presented “How to become a Famous Architect” during the lecture as one of the guest speakers. You may say, “Hey, I’ve heard something similar circulating on the web!”. Guess what, you probably have! It was something lifted wholly off the net, added to it some low resolution images (probably downloaded randomly from the internet too).. Speaks volumes about the quality of Chinese Architectural Magazines or media.

The Pecha Kucha concept is to allow each speaker 20 seconds for 20 slides. This works out to about 6 minutes and 40 seconds for each speaker. As I mentioned earlier, most speakers could hardly get into their work in depth.. Some speakers had to resort to presenting something totally irrelevant to what they do. For example, a fashion designer started talking about how happy and free spirited Swing (the dance) has made her, and how she would like to bring that to Beijing. Totally free-spirited, I would say, but it wasn’t really why I was there at Pecha Kucha for in the first place.

Some advice for the organisers: While we could probably talk to the presenters in greater depth after the lectures, it would be a good idea to manage the lectures in such a way where some depth is explored during each of the 6 minute 40 seconds. In this way, all those who came for the event could bring something memorable away from the event even when they don’t manage to catch the speaker after the lecture. Perhaps the choice of topics could be more specific, and included in the event listing, so that visitors like us can know beforehand what to expect. I really don’t appreciate standing for more than two hours only to listen to a pirate display her loot as the last speaker.

Next Pecha Kucha in Beijing will take place sometime before the Olympics. Let’s hope it gets better!

Some interesting links:

Extracted on 18 May 2008 from