‘Waves’ PechaKucha 20×20 talk

I was thrilled to be part of the PechaKucha Night programme in Christchurch as part of WORD Christchurch Writers and Readers Festival last month. The event featured “some of the festival’s top local and international writers presenting an eclectic range of PechaKuchas…that encompass their passions and expertise”, so the programme promised.

PechaKucha 20×20 is a format where each speaker has 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds; the images advance automatically while the presenter speaks. The first PK was held in Tokyo in 2003, and since then the concept has gone global, with official PK nights held in over 700 cities. The official PechaKucha website hosts thousands of presentations, tagged by city, topic, keyword.

PKN CHC 20 (PechaKucha Night Christchurch’s 20th event) was held in the Transitional Cathedral, aka the cardboard cathedral, which I wrote a bit about here. The tickets sold out weeks before the event, so it was a packed house of about 500 on the night. PKN CHC has some great photos of the night on their Facebook page; that’s me in photo number 4, with the phone, my only friend (Phone: “I hate you.” Tracy: “Shut up, Phone!”) (Mighty Boosh reference).

The presentations are all online – head to the PKN CHC 20 homepage to browse and watch (click on the image below to go to the PKN website).


Here’s the line-up:

Dylan Horrocks // cartoonist // on the Empty Church (my Year of Belief)

Bec McMaster // exhibition coordinator // on Antarctic Time Travel

Melanie Oliver // gallery director// on Ronald Hugh Morrieson vs KFC

Bryna O’Brien // Boosted // on zombies and community crowdfunding

Penny Hall // director of the SOS Project // I want to talk about sex

Andrew Gunn // film and TV writer and satirist // on the interest I don’t put on my CV

Renata Hopkins // TV and fiction writer // on girls with plaits: what I learnt from Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tracy Farr // writer and recovering scientist // on waves

Nic Low // writer and artist // on Bookwallah: travelling libraries on Indian trains

Phillip Armstrong // academic // on New Zealand’s Bestiary

Reed Kroloff // architecture writer and commentator // on disruptive thinking in architecture

My presentation was titled Waves (watch and listen to it online). I talked ocean waves, quoted Clive James; I outed my trashy childhood TV habits, my fear of the ocean, and my generally anxious nature. I talked sound waves: science, music, theremin. I hoped I tied it all together. There’s a plug on my last slide for the Sunday Fringe session I did a few days later with John Chrisstoffels – head here for the Christchurch Library blog about that Sunday session, if you’re interested.

I had some fascinating discussions with people at the end of the night. It’s interesting how many people are fearful of the ocean. For me, that fear has ended up morphing into obsession, and it writes itself out in my fiction (and, I guess, in the marine science I ended up doing for so many years). Here’s a brief something I wrote about it last year, which touches on some of the ideas and images I used in the PechaKucha talk in Christchurch last month.

And there’s a topic for another post, another time: expanding on the notion of the ocean (sings oo-ooh-ah) in my novel and short stories.


Browse all the PKN CHC 20 talks online

Listen/watch my talk

Leave a Comment