Artists Elisabeth Pointon and Christopher Ulutupu have lived together for about five years and have just collaborated on their first joint work – an extravagantly shared outing.
They live in a loft-style apartment in downtown Wellington with four other creative people – sometimes stretching up to 30.
Elisabeth Pointon: I mainly work with text, sculpture and intervention. I want to disrupt everyday life. And my work is often outside the gallery context, in public spaces.
We have never collaborated before. Our work is called Thanks for all the fish. This is a reference to a quote in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galactic. It’s basically mine and Chris’s parties.
* The Levin Monastery paintings begin to take shape
* Qiane Matata-Sipu’s whānau still own all the houses she lived in
* The year (of art) that was – despite everything
* The house I was warned not to buy is the best thing I’ve ever bought
Even though most people in our circles know we’re gay, we’ve never had an announcement or a ceremony.
Christophe Ulutupu: We live near the New World in town.
We are six to live here. We are all creatives. One is a gallery owner, the other is an actor, my partner is a musician in Womb, a sister band, and then there is Nate, who is finishing up his doctorate on coconut oil.
I don’t know how you do a doctorate in coconut oil, but he does.
I have been here for almost 10 years. There is a large living room, loft style, high ceilings and lots of artwork. Some of the former roommates have offered us work, and some of Elisabeth’s work is in the house.
Everyone is very busy doing their art, so it’s rare for everyone to be home at the same time.
Being around other people who work in the same way and who understand what you do influences everyone’s practices.
Point: We are somehow socially co-dependent. We often travel in fleet and we meet in the same evenings.
I have been here for almost five years. I love it. It’s a nice balance between a home and a social space. Because there is so much space that none of us need to rent studios.
It’s run down. Sometimes it leaks after heavy rains or flash floods. We had this wonderful incident where a ceiling panel collapsed and fell. But it’s worth it.
There is so much sun during the day. It overlooks the Clyde Quay Wharf area. We can see Waitangi Park.
Ulutupu: Most of our friends show up. When I first moved in I thought it was our home and a place we are proud of, but it is also a space the community can use.
We’ve used it for concerts, fundraisers, and even had the Fafswag ball here. It is a queer collective based in Tāmaki.
We have organized numerous fundraisers for the queer and artistic community, as well as for the gallery Meanwhile for an exhibition in Tasmania.
I also organized my own fundraiser for my show at the play_station gallery in Wellington. They sent me to Hobart.
Point: Sometimes it’s an apartment for 30 people. But most of all we like it. Many former roommates still have keys.
There is a large space which happens to be really great for parties.
20 or 30 years ago these loft-style apartments were everywhere in Wellington, but due to gentrification and rising rents in the urban center it is very rare these days.
This space allows a large part of the community to use it to meet their needs.
We just don’t know when we might lose this space, so we try to use it as much as possible before we have to move.
Ulutupu: Someone is always cooking. Elisabeth cooks a lot in the apartment.
There is no list. We have such busy schedules, it depends on who is there at the time. We have a list for cleaning, but I feel like we’re all getting involved.
My partner likes to keep the space welcoming; he waters the plants. He made us a coffee table, made us a dining table. . . with very few tools too. I think everyone is doing what they can.
Point: Wellington is my place because it has always been my home.
I look outside of New Zealand to see where the next step is – most people in the creative field are looking further ahead. But obviously, because of Covid, a lot of our plans have been delayed.
Living in central Wellington is pretty perfect. We don’t need to own cars. Often we don’t even need to use public transport. Anything out of CBD is a bit of a stretch for us.
*Pointon and Ulutupu showThanks for all the fish is part of the mischief makers exhibition at the Pātaka Art + Museum in Porirua until February 6.