group of people sitting in a bleacher style stadium seating, indoors and looking toward the front
On March 2nd the audience took off with PechaKucha Vol. 26 speakers to Tokyo, Italy, and Greece and also got a glimpse into the past, the future, and the minds of artist, architects, and filmmakers.

Nine speakers shared their passions, visions, and works with a receptive audience at Alloy 26 on the Northside. Hosted by Dutch MacDonald, President & CEO Maya Design, the evening started with a playful and very helpful ‘listen and repeat’ lesson on how to pronounce PechaKucha (Pay-chaulk-cha BTW)

Here’s just the gist of what four of the speakers had to say:

Hayley Haldeman, lawyer and a self-described ‘arts enthusiasts,’ shared her passion for art and how engagement in the arts has shaped her pro bono practice and volunteer work. She participated in a speed dating-styled match up of volunteer lawyers with non-profit leaders looking for new board members. Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and the Allegheny County Bar Association sponsored the event. She also led the effort to bring artwork into corporations through the exhibit of Radiant Hall artists’ work in the Jones Day’s lobby and she is a member of the Mattress Factory Board.  Though her dream job would be the one George Clooney had in the film, The Monuments Men, Hayley uses her art enthusiasm and legal training to enhance the intersection between law and the arts. Art has been integral to her life from the very beginning…well, actually slightly before the beginning. Hayley herself sprang from a courtship that began in a booth at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. Her mother, an artist, eventually married the man, Hayley’s father, who faithfully showed up, three years running, at her booth to admire both her and her artwork. A father and his daughters, standing together inside for a family picture

Architect Matthew Schlueb’s presentation asked the provocative question “Are we the last architects?” Matthew shared images from a design competition for area students and noted that the level of creativity in the submitted work appeared to be tool based. Student designs created using freehand drawing and more basic design tools were more innovation than the designs created by students using advanced drawing and design programs.  This difference inspired him to question the role of an architect in an increasingly automated and AI world. Architects, he concluded, need to shape their tools rather than let their tools shape their work.  Architecture is more than function; it provides insight into the intangibles of daily life and often is the only remnant of a lost civilization.  Ultimately, it is creativity that is the most important aspect of design and what lies at the heart of architecture.  

When Matthew Ketchum moved to Japan he easily found the usual things, cherry blossoms and views of Mt. Fuji, but he had to search for ways to connect with the punk rock music scene. After a brief detour from music while he served as a front line responder to the catastrophic tsunami, Matthew moved to Tokyo where he moonlighted as a musician and event booker in Japan's extreme music underground. But frustrated with finding underground concerts —many that popped up with little or no notice in basements and backrooms of bars— Matthew set out to create a portal to Japan’s peripheral music communities. He mapped out concerts, venues, and pop up events in Japan and used this data to populate Kaala, a clearinghouse for audiences, musicians, and venues containing over 90K data points. Now back in the ‘burgh, he’s in the process of adapting Kaala for our region and fueling the renaissance of the creative punk communities here.

Three people sitting together on a couch, facing the camera and smiling. Left to right: an African American woman wearing glasses with her hair up in a wrap, a white man in a suit and overcoat, and a blonde white woman in a black dress.Mark Dietrick shared images and details from his participation in a yearlong effort to digitally preserve the assets of the Tuscan city of Volterra. Settled in the Bronze Age, Volterra has been continuously inhabited for almost 3,000 years and has structures from the Etruscan, Roman, and Medieval periods. Using digital photography and scanning, Mark, along with a team of fellow architect, engineers, and archeologists, captured 3d images of Etruscan era relics such as decorative pieces of column, dimensional frescos, and other antiquities in danger of deterioration. Some of the scans were scaled down and printed on 3d printers. The small dimensional versions of these pieces are being used to make this artwork accessible to the visually impaired.  Volterra landmarks such as the Porta all'Arco, a well-preserved gate into the city, and the Roman Theatre of Volterra, a large theater dating back to the 1st century, were captured in minute detail using drones and high-resolution stationary cameras. Data from these precise scans are allowing for the digital recreation of these unique structures. The hope is that this work will help in the city of Volterra’s bid to become a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Also presenting where Glenn Olcerst, (outdoor art on the Northside) Kahmeelah Freidson (48 Hour Film Project), ROY (Midnight Helpers, a Syrian refugee relief program on the Greek island of Chios), Ashley Cecil (Bird Strike awareness through art), and Sallyann Kluz (architects, artists, and urban spaces). More about these speakers and their presentation can be found at the PechaKucha’s preview blog, here.  

All in all it was a grand evening of conversation, learning, and networking - full of friendly people, cold beer, boxed wine, pretty darn good cookies, cheese, meats and vegetables, too. 

Join us for the next PechaKucha in July - check the PechaKucha Pittsburgh Facebook page for details.


Published in The Arts Blog