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Pechu Whatcha?

Presenters get creative with Japanese format. (Chris Parent photo)

Pecha Kucha means ‘chit chat’ in Japanese. That meaning is translated into an event where speakers show 20 slides, and have 20 seconds to speak for each. The first event was hosted in by a Tokyo architecture firm in 2003 and the format has quickly spread, with over 500 cities now hosting Pecha Kucha Nights.

Halifax’s latest Pechu Kucha was at The Canadian Museum of Immigration, a.k.a Pier 21, on Sept. 20.  Museum coordinator Philippa Gunn says the night is “a way for creative people to share ideas in a really quick format.”

Gunn says Pecha Kucha fits well with the current photo exhibit at the museum: Naomi Harris’ Canada-wide images of cultural diversity. Gunn says she wants Pecha Kucha to get people thinking “ about what cultural landscapes are in Canada and how diversity and immigration enriches (…) our way of life.”

The host for the night was Bob Mann, who introduced the presenters. The night started with a passion for community. Dean Casavechia traveled to rural Newfoundland photographing the lives of the locals and their festivals.  Images of girls in 4H clubs with their rabbits and ox pull competitions flashed across the projector screen.  Sarah Filmore spoke about the women behind the creation and the art of Nocturne; Ross Soward talked about the Switch Open Street Sunday project, which closed the street to cars and allowed the community travel on foot or by bicycle.

Work was a source of stories. Jorge Loza documented his life working as a musician on a cruise ship for six years and Ben Stone detailed his life with the Zuppa Theatre cast. Adam Conter shared his experiences in home renovation and included photos of friends breaking his old bathroom tiles with a hammer. Sean Drohan spoke about teaching yoga and the spiritual landscape of the Kalapa Valley in Cape Breton against a picturesque background.

Several of the presentations were about interactions with those closest to us. Soulafa Al-Abassi paid tribute to the life of her cat and the lessons pets can teach us and Jasmine Oore remembered growing up with her father. She explored the awkwardness that can come from generational and cultural clashes through photos of a Dad wearing embarrassingly short shorts.  Oore says, “I think that what we avoid and what makes us uncomfortable is also a reflection of our culture.”

The 12th Pecha Kucha Night in Halifax ended with loud applause and a lot of ideas to for everyone to chit chat about.

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