For 10 days every winter, Gertrude Street becomes one enormous light installation. The Gertrude Street Projection Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and 38 venues will be lit up with colourful, site-specific visuals that showcase the work of local artists and filmmakers.

From Friday July 21 to Sunday July 30, facades, laneways, stairways and footpaths will be illuminated from 6pm until midnight. The theme of this year’s festival is “unfurling futures”; artists have been invited to create glimpses of the future.

The program is huge, weird and wonderful. It covers everything from streetside pods in which you can watch a 360-degree, virtual reality dance film, to a glow-in-the-dark wall you can turn into your own art project with customised light-emitting brushes, rollers, spray cans and stencils.

Our advice? Begin at one end of Gertrude Street and start exploring.


The Catfish

The Catfish is the festival’s hub and it hosts live music and big visuals throughout the 10-day event. The festival’s opening and closing parties will be held here, with Midlife, Rings Around Saturn and Waving at Trains on hand to close the event out. Dylan Betalic’s hypnotic visuals will be on display, too.

Musicians 4 Hearing

On July 28 Catfish will host Musicians 4 Hearing, a fundraising event for hearing care in the developing world. The AUSLAN-interpreted show is headlined by Squidgenini and SO.Crates, and deaf artist Luke King will draw his interpretation of the music. Book tickets here.


Northside Records

Melbourne filmmaker Rhys Newling and artist Chris Henderson’s Twenty fifty involves five transparent panels hanging in Northside Records, mapped with a constantly changing Melbourne cityscape.

Atherton Gardens

Atherton Gardens will host projections and installations, including Annie Edney’s Moon Ball, a glowing moon sculpture; Artbox’s retrospective around the Y2K bug; and Anne Truong and Dave Anderson’s Light Cycles, which projects giant cyclist shadows across a building.

Charcoal Lane

Tori Lill’s video piece Brighter Side to Display is meant to make you uncomfortable – the work is supposed to disrupt self-reflection, Lill says.


The projection taking over this corner shop is inspired by climate change and how water – in the form of floods, or rising seas – is a measure of the Earth’s health. Yandell Walton’s vibrant work, Submerged, shows a body of water inside an architectural space, with a female figure floating near the top.



Ladro will host Untitled (16 Australian Films) by Tommaso Nervegna-Reed, with benches set up for watchers. The pizza restaurant will sell popcorn for $2 a bag; the flavours on rotation include black salted caramel, rosemary salt, truffle olive oil and salt, and cinnamon sugar.

The Builders Arms and Ricky & Pinky

Amanda Morgan’s kaleidoscopic work If they build a wall, we can scale it will be projected onto the exterior of the Builders Arm Hotel. Inside at Ricky and Pinky you can taste a preview of its new yum cha menu.

127 Brunswick

127 Brunswick Street has just launched its Sing Sing room, a private dining area with karaoke. During the festival groups of 14 or more dining from the banquet menu can do karaoke for free.

Marion & Cutler & Co

The Marion Alleyway will be illuminated by Visitor III, a work by Riza Manalo about gestures, body and movement. From 5pm Marion will serve a takeaway chocolate and candied violet éclair with coffee for $3.50 (or $4.50 for a Valrhona hot chocolate) to keep you warm.

Cutler & Co’s front bar will serve meals for $20 between 5.30 and 6.30 pm. After 9pm, the cheese cart will be available.