Taos Pecha Kucha Volume 21 comes to the Taos Center for the Arts on January 12th, 2017 to celebrate the new year.
Remarkable. For the 21st time, locals Matt Thomas and Richard Spera are coordinating a Pecha Kucha night in Taos. No small feat, given that this is an international movement, and one that exists primarily in urban centers around the globe. That Taos County has the kind of citizenry that supports Pecha Kucha nights again and again is a testament to our artist colony status, our rebel hearts, our out-of-the-box minds, our diverse and inclusive community of artists across all media and methods.
Pecha Kucha means “the sound of chit chat” in Japanese. The structure, initially dreamed up by graphic designers and architects who needed a venue in which to showcase their work, is 20 slides for 20 seconds each, for presentations that total 6 minutes and 40 seconds. While that may not sound like enough time to get to know someone’s life’s work, it is the condensed form that makes us curious to learn more. Moreover, when you hear 10 such presentations in an evening, you start to make your own connections among the various artists, pulling out themes that ground, that entertain, that inspire. That’s the funny thing about chit chat: while it may start as a surface introduction, it can lead us into the deepest parts of ourselves.
Taos Pecha Kucha: How it All Began
Back in 2008, Thomas attended a Pecha Kucha night in New York City, when he was in grad school for Architecture and Urban Design at Columbia University. Immediately afterward, he called Spera and said, “We’ve got to bring this to Taos.” The first Taos volume was September 27, 2010, and in the last six years, they have hosted over 300 presenters in venues across Taos County. (View the entire archive here).
Thomas, the new Collections Manager at the Harwood, Director of Studio Taos, and Co-Director of the Paseo Project, and Spera, who runs Casa Gallina, are passionate about coordinating Pecha Kucha nights in Taos, because it reminds them both why they love living here. It introduces us to our neighbors and allows us to know better the incredible work our peers are doing here.
The theme of this Pecha Kucha in Taos, Volume 21 is Group Hug. When asked what gave them the idea for this theme, Thomas commented, “We don’t usually do themes. It’s usually a ‘Taos Mix’.”–with Questa, High Road, Local Food, and Remarkable Women of Taos being notable exceptions to this rule. In this case, the theme comes at a time when many of us are feeling battered by last year’s election cycle and facing some cold weeks ahead–just the time when a group hug might be in order. Plus, there will be opportunities for “chit chat” before the event (6-7pm), during the intermission, and afterward. Music by DJ Chrystalline and drinks provided by the TCA will be offered before the event; hors d’oeuvres from Manzanita Market will be added during the intermission. Guests are welcome to strike up conversation on all sorts of topics.
And there will be so much to discuss! Artist Dora Dillistone will present about how she continues to make 2-D art in a “Post-Post”, “After-After” art world. David Luis Leal Cortez will present on his new film about local artist Pepe Rochon, “Successful Outlaw”. Tara Lupo will discuss her work with hospice and “the Good Death” here in Taos. Science and technology writer Eric Mack will discuss how 2016 wasn’t nearly as bad as it has been made out to be, and how historically we may view it as a new beginning in many ways. Plus, six more presenters will speak on six just-as-various topics. With all this and more on the docket for the evening, we are bound to make so many connections!
These Pecha Kucha nights are an unforgettable opportunity to meet someone new in our community, or to learn something new about a community member you’ve already met. They feature artists who were born in Taos and others who moved to Taos later in life. Plus, the format allows for flexibility in creating presentations–as long as 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Thus, there have been musicians who displayed random images while playing music, photographers and painters who painstakingly selected 20 of their key visual works, yoga instructors who did yoga the whole time, and writers who put up pages of work. Essentially, these pieces are planned but not rehearsed as a show, so anything can–and does–happen on stage at Pecha Kucha nights.
As Thomas so eloquently put it, “Due to recent events–now is the time for us to all come together. Pecha Kucha is an opportunity to inspire each other. You can’t look at Taos through one lens. We try to bring together a diverse group of community members and take stock of who we are. Taos will always persevere. Due to the structure of Pecha Kucha, it just becomes magic–it is magic. These are great opportunities to come together and remember who we are as a community.” Here, here.
Best of all, we will continue to have Pecha Kucha nights in Taos after this one. Thomas and Spera are always looking for recommendations and proposals for presentations; they need only a name, an idea, and an email address for a potential presenter to get the ball rolling. (You can call them at 575.613.0601or email them directly at email@example.com if you are interested.)
Whether this is the 21st Pecha Kucha night you’re attending in Taos or it’s your first time, this is a great one to check out. The timing could not be better, and the variety of topics to be covered will give us all a lot to chit chat about.
Taos Pecha Kucha, Volume 21: Group Hug is Thursday, January 12th, 7pm at the Taos Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6pm with drinks and music by DJ Chrystalline. Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance. see you there.