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Along the pink line: Performance Arcade 2019

By India 12 Feb 2019 • 2 Comments

Have you noticed the hot-pink line that’s recently appeared on the Wellington waterfront, running all the way from the railway station to Oriental Parade? From 21 February to 3 March, that line will be your pathway to discovering the Performance Arcade, Wellington’s much-loved annual live art event.

Here are five things to check out along the way.

1. Container art

During the Performance Arcade, a temporary shipping-container village springs up on the waterfront. Inside and around each container you’ll find a pop-up art performance that will surprise, entertain, shock, provoke or move you – or do all those things at once.

Ivan Lupi invites members of the public to tattoo an “X” on to his hands. The ATOMr collective stages a procession of ornately costumed cows that culminates in a dance and choral performance. Gemishka Chetty and Aiwa Pooamorn present a twisted cooking show where you can “indulge in the fantasy of slow-roasting a judge on a spit”. Ben Landau challenges the public to travel from one end of a shipping container to the other without touching the floor. And that’s just a small sampling of the dozens of free art performances planned for this year.

It’s up to you how organised you want to be. You can consult the Performance Arcade programme and plan your visit around the timing of certain performances, or you can wander down at any time between 10am and 11pm, Thursday–Sunday (21–24 February and 28 February–3 March) and see what you stumble upon.

2. Live music

Music is just as important a part of the Performance Arcade as visual art, and often the line between the two things is blurred or non-existent. Take audio-visual duo Kuki Koori, made up of Fat Freddy’s Drop keyboardist Iain Gordon and artist Mick Finn, who combine electronic sounds with live drawing and animation.

Each of the eight days features a packed (and free!) line-up, with a range of genres and styles, from indie rock to funk, pop to alt-country, jazz to electronica and more. Musos love the Performance Arcade because it gives them a chance to push the boundaries and experiment, so expect the unexpected – even if you’ve seen a particular performer before on the Wellington gigging circuit, chances are they’ll bring something new to the table this time.

gelissimo cms
Gelissimo Gelato are creating some frozen art for Performance Arcade

3. Culinary art

The Performance Arcade organisers asked waterfront restaurants and food vendors to come up with a special culinary experience that fit with the Arcade’s ethos – and they delivered. Gelissimo Gelateria, for example, has created a pitch-black gelato cone with, fittingly, a pink line running through the middle and a top-secret ingredient in the centre.

The Crab Shack, Crocshake, Dockside, Mexican QBT,Pōneke, the Mojo Coffee Roastery and Shed 5 also have special offerings throughout the Arcade. And make sure you book in advance for La Bella Italia’s pasta-making workshop (24 February), St Johns Bar & Eatery’s four-course Long Lunch (1 March) and the two culinary performances – Caitlin Le Harivel’s Jelly Lands (1 and 2 March) and Anna Cacace’s Sky Salad (2 and 3 March).

Kuki Koori

4. An after-dark spectacle

Each day, for about half an hour after sunset, the Carter Fountain in Oriental Bay will house Swans, a stunning piece of video art presented by Trustpower. Artist Jeremy Brick worked with two dancers from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and the video he took will be projected on to the fountain, 20 metres tall. The best viewing position is the Oriental Bay Band Rotunda, so get there early to secure your spot.

performance arcade

5. Party in the Hub

The heart of the Performance Arcade is the Hub, on the harbour side of Te Papa. Chow down on some food-truck goodness, grab a drink from the pop-up bar (serving exclusive Arcade brews from Tuatara, Leftfield wine and Three Wise Birds cider) and party into the night with live music. Meet up with your friends, chat about the art you experienced that day … in other words, immerse yourself in the one-of-a-kind creative experience that is the Performance Arcade.


The Performance Arcade 2019

The Performance Arcade is returning to Wellington Waterfront for its 2019 festival of live art and music.

Add your comment

  • Gunn Storer on 20 Feb 2019

    And remember to drop into our Waterfront pop up village shops.17 container shops with handcrafted products from local artists,including Kawakawa balm,soaps,crystals,dream catches and more from Rongoa Of The Forest

  • Bette Cosgrove on 15 Feb 2019

    Cant wait. This gets bigger and better every year. A calendar highlight

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