Diversity at the forefront: Gertrude Street Projection Festival ask artists to imagine the future

21 – 25 July 2021

Melbourne’s most loved grassroots festival will once again light up Fitzroy as artists explore the theme ‘PAST, PRESENTs, FUTUREs’, in striking artwork that lights up the street. Centre for Projection Art proudly presents Gertrude Street Projection Festival, celebrating its 13th iteration with poignant artworks inviting audiences to stop, look and consider their future from 21 – 25 July

Boundary-pushing artists will present work that considers colour, race, gender sexuality, age, ability, class and nationality, combined with how science and technology are instigated in their futures. This year’s Gertrude Street Projection Festival will feature artists such as Tom BlachfordDr Kirsten Garner LyttleSusan Maco ForresterWesley DowlingBilly Raffin and more.

One of the program highlights includes Interstellar Superheroes, a project intended to engage and collaborate with the children that gather and play at Cubbies, the Fitzroy Housing Estate’s Adventure Playground. Cubbies has provided a safe outdoor space in the Fitzroy Public Housing Estate for over 40 years, welcoming and supporting children from diverse backgrounds and continuously providing opportunities for creativity and imaginative play. Centre for Projection Art with artist Susan Maco Forrester, assisted by Billy Raffin, have engaged a group from Cubbies in a series of workshops, guiding and supporting these kids to create a large-scale public artwork to be shared with their wider community, including lighting up the prominent towers.  

Through this project, children will learn about the impact that art has on communities to bring people together through a shared vision. The impacts of COVID-19 on Melbourne and especially those in public housing has been greatly felt, therefore Interstellar Superheroes aims to unite these children and their families providing a significant connection to the wider community through the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. This project has been funded by Nelson Alexander Community Day and Vic Health.

Curator Jacob Tolo said: “PAST, PRESENTs, FUTUREs hits fast forward to 500 years from here, asking artists for speculative visions far beyond the now. Among the projection works we invite submissions this year from digital artists working with new technologies and written submissions that can be adapted for the medium. We take with us our knowledge and stories that tell of who we are and where we have come from. Stories that will help shape our future.”

Other program highlights include Dr Kirsten Garner Lyttle’s work which will be projected on the Seekers building. Lyttle is a Melbourne based artist, academic and researcher of Māori descent, whose work explores the intersection of indigenous customary art practice and digital technologies.

Tom Blachford’s work will shine onto the The Workers Club building.  Blachford prides himself on translating space, texture and design intent into strong sets of images.  He has worked with RMIT students to animate his brightly coloured photographic cityscapes into a moving metropolis.

Billy Raffin’s work will light up the Ends and Means window. Raffin is an Argentinian-Australian artist who interrogates playful representations of the mundane, transforming simple interactions into thoughtful articulations.

Lighting up the rear of the Le Labo Fragrances building is Glynn Urquhart, a queer multidisciplinary artist working primarily with animation and digital media, exploring themes surrounding the physical, the digital, and the spaces that exist between the two,
in collaboration with queer Ngarigu artist Peter Waples-Crowe.

Centre for Projection Art continues presenting Gertrude Street Projection Festival as the southern hemisphere’s original grassroots projection art festival after a brief pause in 2020. With a renewed and laser-specific focus on intriguing and cutting-edge projection artists, both emerging and established, the not-for-profit organisation is looking to rally community sentiment and financial support to ensure the festival’s future. Anyone who would like to generously support can go to gspf.com.au/donate

Gertrude Street Projection Festival full program will be launched on the website on 21 June.

Gertrude Street Projection Festival
July 21-25, 6-12pm
gspf.com.au