Sunday, March 23, 2014

Public Speaking

PechaKucha Night Brisbane Vol 36. 19.03.2014

Social Media Presentation, Sculptors Queensland Forum, 4.03.2014

It's been another couple of weeks with loads going on but very little art. Earlier in the year I suggested to the members of Sculptors Queensland they might consider setting up a facebook page. The response was enthusiastic but it came with the caveat that I make a presentation to the members, many of whom having little or no experience with social media. Bizarrely, within a week of giving that talk at the SQ Shed, I was invited to take part in a PechaKucha Night at the Brisbane Powerhouse. So two talks in as many weeks when I think the last time I'd made a speech in public was at my wedding reception nearly ten years ago.

The social media presentation went quite well. I'd had a couple of months to prepare and over the weeks I'd been steadily pulling together images and data off the net and organinsing my ideas of what I thought would be worth talking about. I tried to merge my own experience with examples of how other artists use social media along with some pretty infographics related to internet and social media usage world wide. I didn't do a head count but there were maybe 25 members present for the talk which lasted around 30 minutes with plenty of questions and discussion going on throughout.

Conversely, I only recieved the invitation to speak at PechaKucha one week before the scheduled event, and since I was required to submit my slides the Sunday before, I only had four days to sort it all out. PechaKucha, held every three months in cities around the world, has a unique and strict format. Each presenter has twenty slides and each slide automatically changes every twenty seconds, giving the speaker a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds to speak. It's near impossible to describe each slide before it disappears and those that tried didn't make very good presentations. I decided to give a brief history of my working life for the last twenty years and describe how I came to start making art in a serious way, alternating between images of my artwork and images of highlights from my construction projects. Ambitious for 6:40 but I actually got through that bit by about slide 14. The last 1:20 I used to describe the positive effect making art has had on my life. Thankfully it went off quite well, the organisers commenting that I "Spoke with fantastic clarity and insight." Can't really ask for more than that.

The following day I worked quietly at my desk and the lack of pressing deadlines or the anxiety of a looming public address had me feeling a little like I was on holiday. Perhaps now I can devote some time to making something.

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