Kate Walker is bringing her work back to New Zealand.

Having spent her time going back and forward between the United States and New Zealand since 2003, with her parents and a house in Paekākāriki, Kate calls the small seaside town her home base.

Headlining The Performance Arcade, an award-winning art event featuring live art, music and performance on Wellington's waterfront, Kate is bringing Disaster Karaoke to the streets.

Interested in music, theatre and punk culture from a young age, and involved in various 'political activist' groups in the 1980s Kate's earlier years have played an influential role in her latest work.


"I am interdisciplinary and my performance projects are influenced by the form of art called 'social practice' where art blurs boundaries with community engagement or activism," Kate said.

"My projects often extend into the surreal or fantastical while reflecting on our current political moment or current dilemmas.

Kate Walker.
Kate Walker.

"I am very interested in utopian urges, our search to find solutions, while also probing the dystopias we are close to."

Now plying her trade in Idaho, United States after receiving her Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona, Kate teaches painting, drawing and interdisciplinary art at Boise State University but is 'stoked' to have her project accepted in the festival.

"Selected through the juried application project, I was stoked they accepted it.

"In my job there is a large focus on your own art projects, so we get pretty good support for travel and showing work.

"New Zealand is a top destination for me."

Disaster Karaoke is a satirical, karaoke event and art project.


A tongue-in-cheek project that aims to provoke conversation about current thoughts, fears, actions and imaginings of dystopia/utopia through karaoke performance.

Accompanied by a video backdrop mixing nuclear energy instructional video, archival propaganda ads, music videos and storm reporting footage, Disaster Karaoke presents a strange blend of joyous anxiety.

"I was on a class trip in Los Angeles watching my students at a karaoke bar and I knew there was a project there but it took a while to gestate.

"Living in the US, I feel constantly aware of how much we are endangering so many things.

"The planet, climate crisis is here, but also extreme human divisiveness and levels of hate.

"It has taken a while to create, recreating a typical karaoke event but with a curated set list.

"The set list includes over ninety 'disaster themed' songs."

With her social practice work closely related to everyday real-world contexts, Disaster Karaoke is an interactive performance project and karaoke event that provokes conversation around current thoughts, fears and imaginings of dystopia/utopia through performance of songs over the last decades that confront political and social crises.

NZ Postcards to NZ

Interact with the rest of New Zealand through postcards.
Interact with the rest of New Zealand through postcards.

The Performance Arcade features a diverse programme of art, live music and performance, installed within a unique architectural arrangement of shipping containers stacked together to create an innovative 'village' for performance and arts presentation.

Also at the arcade will be NZ Postcards to NZ, a socially engaged art project embracing, celebrating and bringing together New Zealand's 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.

NZ Postcards to NZ is an opportunity to connect with fellow Kiwis through art.

"Calling all Kiwis to share your own unique culture using #nzpostcardstonz. It's the creative idea that when we go travelling we approach it with an open heart and with a sense of curiosity and wanting to engage in something new," artist Adibah Saad said.

"We wanted to help create a way that could bring all these feelings and raise awareness within our own country."

An example of a postcard being sent.
An example of a postcard being sent.

Celebrating the diversity and inclusivity that New Zealand stands for today, this interactive artwork takes New Zealanders on a visual journey through travel postcards that use photographs and text to demonstrate and reveal, that those who we might unthinkingly perceive as the 'other', are in fact 'us'.

At The Performance Arcade viewers are invited to be photographed into a "live postcard" with their chosen backdrop and props.

They can then post into a post-box at the venue to a fellow Kiwi.

Additionally you can pick and post from an exhibited collection of postcards created by the artists if you don't want to be photographed.

NZ Postcards to NZ was born out of the tragic events at the Christchurch Mosque shooting last year.

"Like our nation, I was devastated by the violence that could compel one to attack another based on their cultural identity — simply because they were different.

"I could no longer sit and watch on the sidelines as so many people in our beautiful country view people 'the other'.

There is an undertone of fear if people are different from us rather than embrace our uniqueness and recognise the beauty that each one of us is in fact different, and this is what underpins us as human beings and actually makes us one — the same."

Showcasing both New Zealand and international artists, the free festival attracts 60-90,000 people every year and will be returning to Wellington waterfront from February 27 to March 1.