Wandering the Gertrude Street Projection Festival

A cold, wintery night on a Saturday for many Melburnians means warm pyjamas and nesting under a blanket. Though, those who are willing to rug up and brave the elements can venture out into the night and find themselves wandering through a lively festival.

Featured work from Gertrude Street Projection Festival artist Nick Azidis.

Featured work from Gertrude Street Projection Festival artist Nick Azidis.

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is one such festival where the crowds are persuaded from out of the house to wander the Gertrude Street area in Fitzroy and admire projection art installations around the area. This free, annual event is hosted by the Gertrude Association, a volunteer group that exhibits contemporary new media. Now in its seventh year, the Gertrude Street Projection Festival showcases the best in Melbourne’s projection art on a grand scale.

The Peoples Car by Olaf Meyer - corner of Gertrude and George Streets.

The Peoples Car by Olaf Meyer - corner of Gertrude and George Streets.

The accessibility of this festival means the crowds can meander along Gertrude Street and neighbouring side-streets to admire the colourful projections lighting up the night. Canvases can be found across up to 30 sites along Gertrude – from shadowy laneways, to shopfronts and pubs to sides of multistorey buildings – and the imagination behind the art is just as limitless and diverse.

In one such alleyway, a white Volkswagen beetle provides the backdrop for a myriad colour. Many stand or crouch by the beetle to watch the lights bend along the curves of the beetle. In another lane, a mini surreal drama is projecting on a wall. Fold-up chairs and rugs stand at the ready – those who are in the area can take a warm seat and enjoy the show. Nearby at Atherton Gardens, striking imagery is projected onto high-rises that tower above leaf-less trees and into the black sky. At times, it’s easy to walk past an installation a bit too quickly; there is joy in seeing people re-tracing their steps to spot what they may have missed on their first walk-by.

A series of projected works at The Builders Arms Hotel by Ian de Gruchy, Nick Azidis and Amanda Morgan.

A series of projected works at The Builders Arms Hotel by Ian de Gruchy, Nick Azidis and Amanda Morgan.

What makes the Gertrude Street Projection Festival so successful is its ability to bring a community together in collaboration, participation and celebration. The festival runs by a volunteer ethos, drawing local artists, traders and residents together to showcase this extensive curation and the diversity that Melbourne’s art community embodies.          

Gertrude Street Projection Festival runs from July 18 to 27 with festival projections screening from 6pm to midnight each night of the festival. Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065. For more information about the artists involved and full program, head to the Gertrude Street Projection Festival website.