How will Thursday’s PechaKucha speakers act as ‘first responders’ to Charlotte’s unrest?

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Organizer Manoj Kesavan decided to do something different with PechaKucha Night Charlotte Vol. 16, the biannual event that returns Oct. 20 to La Revolución at the AvidXchange Music Factory. PechaKucha is already a different kind of presentation — PechaKucha 20×20 is a globally practiced format in which creative speakers talk about a topic as 20 related images flash for 20 seconds each.

But Kesavan designated this October event as the city’s first bilingual PechaKucha Night, blending English and Spanish. Then, right after the deadline for speaker applications passed, protests swept through uptown after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott,

Kesavan spontaneously reopened the call for entries. They were processed by a jury consisting of industrial designer Monty Montague (you may have seen him at Creative Mornings/Charlotte), writer Valaida Fullwood, artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner and Christie Kahil of Queen City Forward.

Thanks to 18 fresh entries, the conversation at this week’s “Art Without Borders”/“Arte Sin Fronteras” PechaKucha Night will be heavy on the question of: Where do we go from here? Many will address race relations, while others will still represent the original bilingual angle.

In reference to the Charlotte protests, PechaKucha Night Charlotte posted on their home page: “It feels like we have become the unlikely ‘First Responders’ of the art scene.”

“What happened made us so aware of the borders that exist within our city,” Kesavan said, adding that the response from locals wanting to speak at the upcoming event was overwhelming.

“The lineup selected is by far the most diverse we have ever had,” he said.

That lineup includes Astrid Chirinos, Chief Development Executive of the Latin American Economic Development Corporation, artist Leonor Demori who hails from Venezuela, artist Mark Steven Greenfield whose work focuses on the African-American experience, artist MyLoan Dinh whose recent work has addressed the contemporary challenge of migration, and Kia Moore of Hip Hop Orchestrated.

These local voices, including emcees Judith Barriga of Latina 102.3 FM and Quentin Talley, are responding to Charlotte’s issues in their own ways.

“This has kind of taken a whole new life, a whole new relevance,” Kesavan said.

But how should the audience respond? “Great art … it really challenges you,” Kesavan said.

The audience is meant to leave with a fresh or changed or challenged perspective.

“It’s an opportunity to innovate yourself,” he said.

The details

Day/Time: Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:30-10 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)
Place: La Revolución (900 NC Music Factory Blvd.)
Cost: $10 at the door, plus cash bar.

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Photos: Jeff Cravotta/Courtesy of Que-OS, Image design by Carlos Crespo & Sandi Deitrich | BOLT Group

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