Architecture & Design

Design to Collide: PechaKucha Miami Hosts Rapid Fire Presentations

PechaKucha. It's not a Pokémon or an obscure ingredient in your mother's spice rack. It's a concise, effective means of presentation⎯20 slides, set to 20 seconds each. One straight shot -- pay attention, or miss out.

PechaKucha (pronounced pe-che-kuh-cha in Japanese) is "kind of like speed networking, it's for professional presentations," Carl Hildebrand, public programs manager at the Wolfsonian and head of Miami's PechaKucha chapter, said of the unique exhibition format.

Tuesday, July 30, PechaKucha Miami in partnership with the Miami Design District, is hosting "Design to Collide," where five presenters will explore the concepts of space: whether it be occupying, traversing, or straight up crashing into it. People are invited to communicate, come together, and physically run into one another as the initiative's speakers tackle issues of collision and intersections in the realms of race, street art, media, design, and the pedestrian sidewalks of Miami. Each speaker will have six minutes and 40 seconds to present. It will be Hildebrand's 22nd curated PechaKucha Night, having hosted 160 participating speakers to date.

Hildebrand was introduced to PechaKucha in 2006 during Art Basel while interning for Ocean Drive, but it wasn't until 2009 that he contacted its creators for the rights to open and run the official PechaKucha Miami chapter. "It started in 2003 in Tokyo by two architects, [Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture], and they were tired of going to lectures where people would talk on and on. There's got to be a better way of doing presentations, so they had this format where you should be able to say what you want in 20 Powerpoint slides, no forward, no backward, no questions," Hildebrand said.

It's a viral phenomenon that's caught on so well because of how easy it is to show a body of work, whether it's coming from a seasoned lecturer or a fresh college grad seeking exposure. According to Hildebrand, there are currently 660 PechaKucha chapters worldwide, including Jacksonville, Lakeland, Tampa, and Orlando. "Miami is unique and so is the state of Florida, I do have a theme in mind, and I like to tie in how an architect, an artist, an activist, a mother, and a teacher, all have something in common," He said.

Why haven't we heard about PechaKucha Nights if they're so popular and effective? Cause Hildebrand and a handful of PechaKucha believers, like co-host of the event Dejha Carrington, are the only ones in Miami making it work, with events predominantly held at the Wolfsonian. "Everyone is pulling the resources to make it happen. I don't have a budget. This is all grassroots word of mouth," He said.

This Tuesday's exhibition will be held at Rooftop Garden, overlooking the city's skyline. Expect Tsar Vodka and Perrier on tap as DJ Mr. Brown, a regular spinner at Gramps and Bardot, supplies the music. Cocktails begin at 7:30 p.m. and programming at 8:30 p.m. with an introduction by Hunter Braithwaite (Miami Rail), and presentations by Thais Fontenell (Collective Inventory), Xavier Cortada (FIU Artist-in-Residence) and Doctor Peter Markowitz (FIU Professor), Diana Iglesias and Kim Arredondo (Mixed in Miami), Elsa Roberts (Pedestrian Safety Walk Project), and Terry Riley (Keenen Riley Architects).

Don't miss this engaging clash of concepts, but in case you do, PechaKucha Miami has an upcoming presentation, "3DP/PK: PechaKucha on 3D Printing Tech and Trends," at the Wolfsonian, Friday, September 6, at 7 p.m.

"Design to Collide" is free and open to the public with RSVP, taking place Tuesday, July 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Rooftop Garden, 175 NE 40th Street, Miami. Call 305-751-9641. For more information on PechaKucha Nights, contact Carl Hildebrand directly at [email protected].

Oh, and if you still can't pronounce PechaKucha, you're welcome:

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Briana Saati