Gertrude Street Projection Festival

I rarely have cause to go to Gertrude Street, so I’m always a little surprised by the range of shops and buildings there.

This was a mostly pleasant evening to walk up and back, although there was a slight drizzle and I wasn’t wearing warm shoes. That was not enough to diminish the enjoyment of the projections and illuminations, of which there was also a great range, from small static pieces in windows through video animations up to the projections onto the east face of the housing commission towers.

There were really two sorts of work: the ones that are animated, video, stuff happens; and the ones that are fields of coloured light, sometimes with movement, but much less like video art than the others. The best of this second sort took advantage of the architecture of the building they were projected on to. They were fantastic, partly because of the sheer scale of them.

The video art pieces were on the whole very good. I am a bit skeptical about the medium and some did fall into the trap of being random animation, but most are well beyond that and use the movement/time lapse aspects of the medium effectively. There were a couple that I could have watched for ages.

It is well worth going out to look at them. And it’s fun to work out where they are being projected from as well.

Performative Prints of the Torres Strait

This was an exhibition at the Arts Centre of lino prints, sculpture and video works from Torres Strait Islander artists working across Australia.

I had seen one of Alick Tipoti’s monumental lino prints before, at the Sydney Biennale. The one at the Arts Centre was about eight metres long. While the scale of the work is impressive, the detail of the work is even more arresting. Tipoti draws on traditional Islander carving designs and he is very good at it. The black stands out as though they are the work of the artist’s hand.

I wrote a whole essay on the works in this exhibition, so I have a lot of thoughts. My first impression was that it was wonderful to spend so time with works that had so much detail. Brian Robinson’s works combine Western and Torres Strait history, and pop culture, so you get the detailed abstract background revealing Batman and WALL•E.

Ricardo Idagi’s work is more explicitly about the place of Torres Strait Islanders in the Western museum. The pieces—traditional masks and headdresses, and pottery works in Western traditions—are beautiful, and also fantastically thinky and pointed.

Keep an eye out for contemporary print works and contemporary works by Indigenous artists!