Over the past couple of weeks (from 20 – 29 July, to be precise), Gertrude Street in Fitzroy has been home to a variety of projection art pieces, ranging from hypnotising geometric animations in shop windows to colourful patterns projected onto the entirety of one of the 20-odd story public housing towers. This year saw the fifth Gertrude Street Projection Festival (GSPF), featuring a large number of artists, including a number of collaborative works.
One of my favourite works was on Title Music Film Books, on the corner of Gertrude and George Streets. Titled “Too Busy to be Beautiful” and created by Cam Thompson and Sandra Duncanson, the piece consisted of four cheekily anthropomorphised elements (Earth, Fire, Air and Water) interacting with each other: Water dousing Fire to an ember, Wind fanning him (her?) back to normal, etc. The cool thing about the work was that the shopfront wasn’t just a surface to be projected onto, but part of the ‘space’ of the work itself. For example, the characters would move around the walls of the building but around the windows, as if these were physical obstacles to them.
Also impressive (albeit a tad frightening when not expected) were various silhouettes that, as far as I can tell from the Festival website, were created by Jarrod Factor. One such silhouette appeared in a lit-up shop window and made it appear that somebody was moving around in the building, dancing and waving at the street. The most prominent work was the aforementioned projection on one of the public housing towers, titled “Euclids” and created by Nick Azidis. His images were created in collaboration with the local indigenous community and aimed to turn the public housing tower into art, as well as being projected onto other buildings, such as the Builders Arms Hotel.
Last night, a closing party was held for the festival in the Little Smith Street warehouse space of Collingwood World. The $15 cover charge included two drinks for early comers, so we made sure to pop in before dinner to enjoy some Temple Brew beers, locally made in Brunswick East. The party itself featured projections on the walls and stage, as well as onto a large flower-like object (top image). There were also performances, my favourite being Miles Brown, who played theremin (and quite well, actually). You can never have enough theremin (and you rarely get close).
The atmosphere was pretty relaxed; the space itself was fairly small but not overly crowded and the performances had a laidback, local feel to them. Laidback sometimes verged onto “are these people actually meant to be on stage?”, but the crowd seemed to enjoy what was on offer, their enthusiasm no doubt fueled by local beer and the discount at Trippy Taco to which their party ticket entitled them. The last act I saw before leaving for coffee at Birdman Eating consisted of two blonde rapping about Box Hill and how hardcore it was. Good stuff.
– Alexander Sheko