Christopher Ulutupu

WinterSCAPE

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WinterSCAPE is a video/photo body of work which explores cultural hybridity, tourism and diaspora through a series of staged performances amongst picturesque settings in Aotearoa.

As a Samoan New Zealand artist, I draw upon themes of representation of Pacific bodies, exoticised and repurposed for western tourist consumption. Deconstructing and re-imagining stereotypes and tropes of brown bodies, to better understand my own diasporic worldview, asking myself if I have been given the position of 'other' in western society, then what is exotic to me?

WinterSCAPE will be the (final) third part of a trilogy of works, that make up my series called "The Romantic Picturesque: Postcard Series" (links in bio below). WinterSCAPE will be exhibited in this year's SCAPE Public Art 2018: Our Braided Future (6 October-17 November 2018), in Ōtautahi/Christchurch in form of seven billboards displayed in Hagley Park and a video work.

Samoa is often described as a paradise, a tropical place full of rainforests and exotic fruits and palm trees. Nothing to me is more exotic than a ski resort set amongst snowy mountains - I would argue it's probably one of the only places I see as an absolute opposite from what I know as 'natural' or familiar.

The work is in part inspired by an Elle Magazine article about a Winter Vogue Issue 1977 photoshoot, where a group of photographers and models travel to a ski resort at the border of Argentina and Chile. Due to a storm they were snowed in and forced to stay there for eight days . They continued the shoot at the ski lodge, which goes on to become one of the most successful issues at the time.

That photoshoot became even more absurd when the Chilean government refused to let the Americans leave. The US Embassy, in collaboration with the Argentinean government, planned a Bond-esque escape plan, involving all the models and photographers skiing down the storm-ridden slopes to catch their helicopter, escaping the clutches of the Chilean security guards left to monitor them - whilst wearing all the furs and jewellery that had been supplied by the designers.

WinterSCAPE responds to themes of decadence within tourism, and what I can only deem a story worthy of a cinematic experience. Mixed with images of Samoans on a snowfield, I feel as this has the potential to be a great starting point to create something insightful and engaging - also hilarious.

Please help me shoot this work by supporting my campaign :) P.S. the monies raised fund the core video shoot on location near Ōtautahi.

BIO:

Christopher Ulutupu is a video artist of Samoan/Niuean/German descent currently residing in Wellington. He recently completed his MFA at Massey University, Wellington and has a Bachelor of Performance Design (Hons) from Massey University and Toi Whakaari. Ulutupu has a background in art direction and set design, creating videos, performances and collages that challenge current understanding of institutions, media, pop culture, racism, terrorism and tourism, and how these spheres interrelate.

Here are some links to my previous works:

Part 1: Into The Arms Of My Coloniser (2016) 16:22min 

Part 2: Do You Still Need Me? (2017) 21:20min