Christopher Ulutupu uses the conventions of cinematic storytelling to interrogate the relationship between landscape and indigenous identities. He employs a cast of actors consisting almost entirely of friends and family in his work. These actors sing, dance, and perform, often hamming it up for the camera. In What’s the worst you could do? Christopher uses similar tactics to unearth the potential of discordant storytelling. A series of acts consisting of two adjoining scenes play out side by side, each vignette often at odds with the action next to it.

Originally based on a script written by the artist, the resulting work eliminates some of the traditional tools of filmmaking. Without dialogue or a conventional beginning or end, what’s left are the less tangible aspects of film — lighting, framing, and score. In this world, mood and atmosphere are heightened. Feeling and intent take on more weight than logic and reason. What’s the worst you could do? embraces the complexity of incoherence and acknowledges the fallibility of storytelling. What’s revealing is how we make sense of these gaps and what those assumptions say about us.

Christopher Ulutupu (b.1987) is an artist of Samoan, Niuean and German descent currently based in Pōneke, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington.

What’s the worst you could do? was originally commissioned by Te Tuhi for the exhibition The Inner Lives of Islands in 2021, curated by Robbie Handcock.


  • Thu 23 Jun


  • 5:30 pm — 7:30 pm


  • Level 1 Mibar Building
  • 85 Victoria Street, Te Aro
  • Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, 6011