Last Friday was the third instance of PechaKucha in Brooklyn, the tech-powered presentation night in which 20 slides get shown for 20 seconds each, and then the presenter has to get off the stage.
It’s all about keeping presentations tight.
Three stories stood out to us as good illustrations of how the internet has powered real-world connections. One from media coverage, one from Instagram and one from good old fashioned virality.
- Drummer in Iraqi metal band, Acrassicauda
Hussein’s story was one of a young person from a prosperous family who just wanted to play music — heavy metal music — in Iraq. His life turned upside down and his band’s practice space was bombed during the American invasion of his country. The point of Hussein’s story was that dreams really can come true: Though his band started when he was a teenager, their first album didn’t come out until he was thirty. Now, the band’s first record, Gilgamesh, is done.
As he put it, “I’m cynical. I’m pessimistic. I don’t really believe in this shit. But dreams really do come true and I hate it because it proves me wrong.”
Hussein’s band was able to make it to the United States and open doors for a tour thanks to a documentary about them made by VICE, Heavy Metal in Baghdad, thanks in part to a Kickstarter campaign that raised $37,000.
Don't get ready Get started. -@ipponmatsubeer
— Technically Brooklyn (@TechnicallyBK) February 21, 2015
- Brewmaster behind Ippon Matsu Beer
Kobayashi is a designer by day who makes beer as a hobby, so he can’t sell it in stores. However, as the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, he explained, he decided to try to use his beer to help. He designed a really beautiful bottle and put out the word that he would sell his beer to raise funds for victims of the natural disaster. People from 15 countries reached out to get it.
Kobayashi raised $6,000 selling his beers. His designs and branding were made in memory of a 70,000-tree pine forest that was once thought of as one Japan’s most beautiful places. It was all destroyed, save for one lone tree. “Ippon Matsu” means “one pine tree.”
“I love that I can keep drinking beer and doing something good for it,” Kobayashi said.
- Illustrator, Loveless Designs
Robertson has lots of love, she told the crowd. In fact, she has so much love that one Valentine’s Day she decided to try to give away as many valentines as she could across New York City. She made loads of them and sat out in public where people could see her, drawing as she did so, with her vintage suitcase opened wide and filled with attractive printed products. She offered them to people without asking for money or telling them to take only one.
Robertson also started setting up in places where art was exhibited but she couldn’t afford or wasn’t permitted to go. “Sorry, P.S. 1,” she said.
Eventually, people started taking photos of her and her work and posting them to Instagram. It started to spread and it started helping her make connections. One guy Robertson met on the street at the Dumbo Arts Festival (R.I.P.) Instagrammed her and she later found out that they had a friend in common. Another time, a couple had a fight in front of her and the guy snagged Robertson’s “I like you” card and handed it to the gal, and all was well again.
A famous Brazilian actress Instagrammed some of her work during a trip to New York one day and she woke up the next morning with 400 new followers. It all added up, she told the crowd.
“This act of making art in public started getting me a book deal and getting paid for what I was doing,” Robertson told the crowd, before again opening her suitcase and offering the attendees to take her cards, as she closed out the night. Her book, Don’t Quit Your Daydream, is forthcoming.