"When people go to a gallery, I feel like most of them give a video work under a minute, then walk out,” says Stephanie Pirrie, one of the organisers of Play Me. It’s a free film and video art festival screening at Southgate. “Whereas this, they get to watch something from start to end."
The 12-night program was assembled by Pirrie and her friend, Madeline Sharrock. Together, they call themselves Project Q.U.A.D. (AKA Quick And Dirty), and focus on bringing “exhibitions and programs to new spaces around Melbourne."
"We've been discussing with Southgate for a year now,” says Pirrie. “We thought it would be a perfect opportunity to exhibit some Melbourne artists, particularly in a place that might not usually be exposed to that sort of thing." The duo's original idea was to make Play Me a part of the city-wide White Night celebrations. When that fell through, they kept planning anyway.
The resulting program spans four weeks in July, with events on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. “Tuesday nights are probably more of a drawcard, because they have more storytelling behind them,” says Pirrie, “but you also need to make a booking for those.” The remaining two days, guests can simply show up to enjoy video art and more abstract works.
Although Pirrie says it's “really hard” to pull apart the program, she does have a few favourites, such as Nathan Ceddia's short film, Sneeze Art. "He's invented a veteran artist who's been performing this technique of painting through sneezing. It's pretty hilarious," she says. The VCA Archives night also ranks high on her list, with its strong line-up of graduate works from Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet), Richard Lowenstein (Dogs in Space), Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) and more. But whichever night you choose to get along to, it's absolutely free.
Play Me, July 8-31.