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Art Sat Dec 05 2009
I attended my first PechaKucha night at the Hackerspace known as Pumping Station: One, last night. If you are anything like I was before I went to this, you will have no idea what any of that means, and that's okay.
Lets start with PechaKucha; the name is based on the Japanese word for "chitchat", it was originally devised in Tokyo as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. It has evolved into what almost seems like a party game for the both creative and tech savvy, although neither of these are prerequisites. PechaKucha is essentially a speaker series, for instance, I saw seven different speakers talk about things ranging from the history of metal music to geology. Presenters have to follow some simple guidelines that limit their time, and the way they might decide to present, mainly, 20 images x 20 seconds. Each talk is then limited to 400 seconds (6 min 40sec) and hilarity ensues as the speakers try and fit, and fill information for each image.
Next we tackle the age old question what is a Hackerspace. These are community-operated places, where people can get together to work on projects, simply stated a hackerspace is a geek headquarters. Pumping Station: One, on north Elston, is Chicago's hackerspace, and I encourage you to check out an event at some point, especially if you are someone who has projects. Word of warning, this is not your typical stitch and bitch.
Pumping Station: One is a member based non-profit, but that non-profit status seems to only ensure that there is a space to house something as unique as this is. Okay it might not be a unique as all that, but I do have to say that within an environment such as this it is hard to imagine most people having this sort of experience.
Production is infectious and PS One, having 40 some odd active members, is a snowballing mountain of productivity. That sort of environment can make a huge impact on a person, even a single visit by a less than inspired tinkerer may yield a lifetime of change.