Gertrude Street Projection Festival Pub Crawl

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is a celebration of projection art that “lets us see familiar spaces and buildings in new, inspired ways.” Put together by volunteers, artists, traders, residents and community groups all brought together by The Gertrude Association, it’s something the local community is proud of and rightly so.

I, like many before, had the best intentions of “connecting with the diverse community” and “experiencing the diverse arts program.” But, like many before, ended up connecting more with the bars and their diverse selection of beers. Having said that, I feel this is an integral part of the festival as many of these establishments are home to the projections. A great night was had by all but my recollections of the art are a little hazy towards the end of the night. I will do my best to recount what I can.

Walking from Carlton Gardens up Gertrude Street, my friends and I came across a garage door that started lighting up like Knight Rider. Rows by Daniel Rizio, as suggested by the title, uses the rows of the roller door as its canvas, projecting perfect fitting beams that bring the door to life. We were off to a good start.


Next up, a pitstop with the promise of more light shows inside. The Catfish didn’t disappoint. With pale ales from New Zealand and red ales from the States, we were starting to realise just how multicultural this beer festival was. Feeling refreshed, it was time to take up smoking again, so we headed out the back where the children of the eighties were keeping the “smoking is cool” dream alive.



We were all wrong. Looking down on us, two vegan cafe owners seemed dismayed with our decision to light a cigarette. A + B is a collaboration between Artist, Izumi Pennicott and actors Ryan Jones and Emma Hall that creates “an intimate yet open canvas, challenging our immediate environment by embracing our voyeuristic nature.” It was certainly challenging us so we made a speedy exit back inside.

IMG_3331Only two pints in, we weren’t ready for what we found upstairs. Reminiscent of an old tube tunnel rave in London, Dark Projection Series featured visuals by VJ KS & VJ Radiance and music from Terrible Truths, Vacuum (members of Primitive Calculators & Nun), Empat Lima and Astral Skulls. Having no idea about anything I just wrote, we felt our age and headed back to the street.

A few doors down was a building that held our alebriated attention. Finding Your Way: Finding Home by Deb Bain­-King “reflects upon a truly Melbourne aspect of life, immigration.” Our group consisted of three immigrants and one first generation so this piece hit home at how lucky we are to live in this great country. We shared our stories of hardship and fitting in before realising we weren’t holding a beer.

The Workers Club provided refreshments and a show. I’m not sure if the man in spandex was part of the festival but he certainly added to the festivities. A few too many later and we were ready for some more culture.


Culture was protruding from Design DispensaryPsychagraphic Geotopographical Visualiser, by Kit Webster and participants of her two day workshop at Arts Centre Melbourne, “utilises VDMX and Madmapper to generate a kaleidoscopic arrangement of video textures which are mapped onto a polygonal geometric wall mountable sculpture.” Having drunk in the region of five pints, we all agreed it was the greatest piece of art we had ever seen.


Nyan Cat, apparently.

Until we saw this cartoon cat with the body of a Pop-Tart, flying through space and leaving a rainbow trail behind it. A young bearded man in a crop top informed us it was Nyan Cat, a very popular meme way back in 2011.

On our way to Mr Wow’s Emporium, we were asked to question Australian sovereignty by Gabi Briggs‘ Uralaasked to question our impact on the environment by Digital Arts Yarra Youth Services‘ Poly Formable Death Resplendence and asked to …er … “explore/abstract cinema” by Artful Dodgers StudiosUntitledIt was definitely time for another drink.

This is where the night became blurry. Bocci was played, drinks were drunk, dancing was murdered and somewhere between Mr Wow’s and the Grace Darling Hotel, the pictures above were taken. When Donkey Kong gets this close, you know it’s GAME OVER.

The Gertrude Street Projection Festival is an annual event that unfortunately finished on Sunday. Keep up to date with next year’s festival or get involved at their website: 

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