Pecha Kucha 36

Events — May 22, 2023

After an absence of two years, due to delays brought on by the pandemic, Pecha Kucha in Austin, Texas has made a comeback. The 36th edition of Pecha Kucha Austin will be held the evening of Thursday, June 1st at the historic 8VC Building located at 907 South Congress Avenue beginning at the customary starting time 8:20 PM. 

Pecha Kucha is a creative speaking event that originated in Japan in 2003. (Pecha Kucha is Japanese for “chit chat.”). The event’s unique “20 X 20” presentation format was originally conceived by a group of architects in Tokyo to get architects to talk faster during presentations. Each speaker is restricted to twenty slides set on a timer of twenty seconds per slide, so that each talk is only about six and a half minutes long. Ten individuals from a wide range of creative disciplines are featured at each event. In the past, this has included designers, painters, sculptors, musicians, choreographers, writers, photographers, dancers and even puppeteers. Ten short, spontaneous talks full of passion and creative inspiration, one after the other, is a surprisingly powerful formula. 

The ten guest presenters for Pecha Kucha 36 will be architect Ken Johnson (Michael Hsu Office of Architecture), Samba Dancer/Designer Anne-Charlotte Patterson, Tequila Master Victor Diaz, KUTX Radio Host Laurie Gallardo, Illustrator Steve Pietzsch, Photographer/Designer Herman Dyal, Visual Artist W. Tucker, Filmmakers Sam Wainwright Douglas and David Hartstein, Public Art Organizer Raasin McIntosh and Journalist/Musician Michael Hall.

Two or three Pecha Kucha events are held every year, usually at interesting and offbeat locations. Austin Partner DJ Stout customarily designs a silk-screened poster for each installment that is given away for free to all attendees. The posters visually reference the unique venues of the events and include the names of the ten featured presenters. The posters have become collector editions and are now part of the permanent collection of the Austin History Center.

Pecha Kucha 36 will be held at a historic building on South Congress Avenue that is now the offices of a venture capital firm called 8VC. In the 1800s, the building was the location of a notorious brothel. When 8VC bought the place a few years ago they hired the Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to completely refurbish the structure. Hsu and his team did an exquisite job reviving the space and designing a lush new interior, which just won a Texas Society of Architects Design Award. Hsu and his team, including PK36 presenter Ken Johnson, were inspired by the building’s history using rich, vintage wallpaper, antique brass fixtures and other decorative elements, many which happen to include the image of serpents, throughout the building. Thus, the inclusion of ten intertwining snakes–representing the ten presenters coming together for one event–as the main visual image of the Pecha Kucha Austin 36 poster. 

For the design of the new poster Stout invited Luke Zane at the 8VC Design Lab (the hosts of the event) to collaborate with him on the design of the Pecha Kucha 36 poster. Zane collaged together scientific renderings of snakes so they appear to be writhing together in a tangled knot and finished off the design with a vintage-looking script and a shocking pink background–a reference to the building’s history as a house of ill-repute. The final poster was screen printed by Austin’s Industry Print Shop, a longtime collaborator with Stout and the printer of all the Pecha-Kucha Austin posters.

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