Every unorthodoxy has its orthodoxy

Interesting response to my One Man Pechu Kucha in Edinburgh from the holy grail of Pechu Kucha, the Pecha Kucha Foundation.

I received a very nice, polite, and encouraging response from the Foundation – qualities sadly absent from many online debates and differences of opinion. But ultimately, they were not willing to sanction or mention the initiative on their web site.

It highlighted to me how every rebel has their conservatism, every unorthodoxy their orthodoxy (and hence the need for flexible thinking to be aware and manage the dialetic between these differences and different dimensions.)

For those unfamiliar with Pecha Kucha to quote the Foundation:

‘PechaKucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.

It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”), it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace

The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture.’

I’m a great fan of Pecha Kucha.
For me Pecha Kucha provides an alternative to the formal presentation with its time and format constraints, which in turn provide new opportunities.

I find Pecha Kucha outstanding – and unique – in its benefit of how it facilitates eclectism and new synergies from the different parts.
As a one man Pecha Kucha the challenge I have set is not just to string together seven, seven minute long presentations. Rather, I have to somehow create different content, different dimensions and voices to hopefully capture the spirit – and eclectism – of a ‘regular’ Pecha Kucha show.
Curiously, the spirit of Pecha Kucha was to break boundaries and create new from a different approach. The One Person format could be another dimension to the concept, where the implicit dynamics of Pecha Kucha may have to be spelt out in terms of different content, voice, and perspectives.
Ironically, Pecha Kucha emerged as a challenge to orthodoxy. And the challenge for any new spirit is to avoid its own orthodoxy – and I’m certainly not suggesting they are engaging in bureaucratic thinking.

They were unwilling to sanction my idea because it seemed they had understandable impulse for concerns about Quality Control over the term ‘Pecha Kucha’ in that it should do-what –it-says-on-the-tin: if you go to an event called Pecha Kucha, you should encounter the clearly defined thing.

Interestingly, the Foundation’s description does not spell out, or specifically say that for Pecha Kucha you need different people for the different presentations – it’s all rather implicit.

Secondly, they said there was the ‘thin end of the wedge’ argument: if you sanction this there could be other, possibly less worthy or quality variants, that may in turn, call to be endorsed.

The response to this point would be to to quote from my book ‘Overcoming Stupidity’ and ‘Example #1 where the response is ‘precedent is only valid in a court of law… and faced with any new situation you should be pragmatic and flexible, judge every situation on its individual merits.’

Please, I am not falling out with the Foundation – their response was prompt and polite. Indeed, I am planning to establish a Wakefield partnership to promote their cause.

Sometimes however, it does get a bit frustrating, weary, that whenever you do something new or different, while you don’t expect everyone to rush over to you and offer whatever help you need, it would be nice to get some help to positively advance your idea. (Like the response I received from dear friend Adrian Mahoney in Scotland on his company’s web site)

I came across a lovely description by ‘Financial Times’ writer Harry Eyres (FT Aug 14) when he was praising the life and work of philosopher Jacques Barzun when he wrote: “he knows how hard thinking is, how it ‘leaves the thinker, dizzy, as well as doubtful’.”  

So, in the spirit of encouraging the new, novel and different, my Edinburgh One Man Pecha Kucha event will aim to be an opportunity to stimulate debate about the spirit and principles – and what I call the implicit dynamics of Pecha Kucha, to add, challenge, stretch people’s thinking to make the world a better place – and hopefully make a few people dizzy, as well as doubtful!

The ‘One Man Pecha Kucha’ and ‘Creativity Doctor’ services are free – all you need to do is contact the Festival organisers on 0131 623 3040 or visit the festival web site on www.eimfest.com. Charitable donations are welcome if you want to take advantage of the opportunity.

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