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PechaKucha Night Picks Up More Devotees in Vermont

State of the Arts


Published February 9, 2011 at 11:23 a.m.

Call it speed dating for ideas. Following a successful debut, the University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art is hosting its second PechaKucha Night (PKN) this Thursday, with a dozen presenters. The deal is that each individual gets to show 20 images, talk about them for 20 seconds apiece and — voilà! — no snoozers. If that seems impossibly fast, anyone who attended last fall’s PKN knows that, when a presenter doesn’t have much to say, 20 seconds can seem like a very long time. Usually, though, people can barely squeeze in all they want to share about a current project, and their excitement contributes to a stimulating evening that’s devoted to creativity.

This week’s stellar lineup is heavy on local architects and graphic designers, including Christian Brown, Rolf Kielman, Place Creative Company and Tyler Kobick. That’s consistent with the intent of the original PKN created in Tokyo in 2003 — the Fleming became an official PechaKucha site last year. In addition, there are several visual artists, a puppet educator and a water conservationist.

That last presenter, Erin Haney, would feel right at home in the first PKN being hosted later this month at the Savoy Theater by Transition Town Montpelier and Yestermorrow Design/Build School. The list of presenters is still building, says Yestermorrow executive director Kate Stephenson — they’re identified in a notice to Seven Days only as “a variety of movers and shakers who are thinking about Transition.” That’s a reference to the group of volunteers in Vermont’s capital city who are planning for a post-peak-oil community. “We’ve done these kinds of talks informally at Yestermorrow,” says Stephenson, “and decided to join up with the Transition Town folks.” She says presenters will focus on such topics as natural building, composting, renewable energy, permaculture and green transportation.

If it’s a more practical bunch in Montpelier, Stephenson suggests, “I also believe that permaculture and farming can be about design. It’s a unique spin on the original PechaKucha.”