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Pecha Kucha: Get to the PowerPoint in 20 Slides

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Published on Aug 28, 2007

Let us now bullet-point our praise for Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, two Tokyo-based architects who have turned PowerPoint, that fixture of cubicle life, into both art form and competitive sport. Their innovation, dubbed pecha-kucha (Japanese for "chatter"), applies a simple set of rules to presentations: exactly 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each. That's it. Say what you need to say in six minutes and 40 seconds of exquisitely matched words and images and then sit the hell down. The result, in the hands of masters of the form, combines business meeting and poetry slam to transform corporate clich into surprisingly compelling beat-the-clock performance art.

The duo — Dytham is British, Klein Italian — invented pecha-kucha four years ago to help revive a struggling performance space they owned. The first presentations were such a hit that they began hosting monthly pecha-kucha events, boozy affairs at which Tokyo architects and designers showcased their streamlined offerings to crowds of hundreds. Now there are pecha-nights in 80 cities, from Amsterdam and Atlanta to San Francisco and Shanghai. Why? Dytham believes that the rules have a liberating effect. "Suddenly," he says, "there's no preciousness in people's presentations." Just poetry.

By Dan Pink | Wired Magazine Issue 15.09

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