Nocturnal – winter arts event 2012

Last week, Thursday I had a lovely night walking about and looking at art pieces and installations. There was a cold chill in the air, but people were snuggled in their warm coats, with their cameras close, as around 100 of us partook in a guided tour to the many wonderful art pieces and installations around Dandenong.

Nocturnal is a winter arts event that is held from 1-15 June. The description on the website goes like this:

‘ Each winter, in June, Dandenong streets come to life with a range of spectacular lighting and temporary public art projects in some of the least expected places! Together they offer the perfect opportunity to experience the city after dark – its laneways, car parks, nooks and crannies – and discover cutting edge work by established artists and art students from RMIT and Chisholm.’
There were many artists exhibited and we even got to meet and chat with them, although we couldn’t stay with one too long as we had to watch out for the time. We had to run through the tour pretty quickly as many of us arrived late, I was proud I actually made it on time, only just! 

We met at the Town Hall, where we were greeted by hot Afghan green tea and chickpeas coated in coloured sugar, which offset the tea nicely. There was also an exhibit of photographs that we looked at while we waited to start the tour, which stimulated our art hungry minds.

Our group began the tour around some laneways, with hidden art just in plain sight. We looked at street lanterns with their beautiful colours, the work entitled ‘Dispense’ which was a series of vending machines by Nick Ilton, we saw some stencil art surveillance cameras entitled ‘Dark Spot’ by Daniel Wyatt. We also saw a video installation about street signs in a shop window entitled ‘Parking Illusions’ by Kosar Majani and Sylvia Riley-King; she can be seen wearing the orange scarf.

There was an amazing light pole installation entitled ‘Night Worker’ that was contorted into an organic spiral shape created by Robbie Rowlands. I quite liked that piece as it made you think about your everyday objects as having a presence and life, rather than just being inanimate objects.

We then headed over to a car park filled with creativity. Outside the car park there was the installation ‘Art Projection’ created by Chisholm students, and ‘Chromablitz’ created by Rowena Martinich across a glass facade. As we walked up the stairs we saw colourful bird illustrations and art pieces, like the hanging cave artwork in a corner resembling a small upside down city, it was a hidden treasure entitled ‘Looking In’ by Georgia Mill.

On the middle level car park there was booming orchestrated music playing through car sound systems entitled ‘Trio for Car Stereos’ by Daniel Denholm. One car stood out for me, the aqua coloured 1950s car, it was really beautiful. I would have loved to call it mine, a girl can dream! I went to the top of the car park where there was a couple of installations by Persian artist Kosar Majani. A piece atop a door caught my attention with its beautiful patterns of green, red and yellow, which was illuminated by backlit lights.

The piece de résistance was the light projection that lit up the building opposite the car park entitled ‘Art Projection’ created by Ian de Grunchy. There were patterned images and photographs projected on the wall, from past and present artists work. It was an amazing piece that I really enjoyed.

From then I must admit I lost our group, ooops! As I took a rather long look around the previous installations. So we just decided to head of to the Walker Street Gallery, as that was the last stop. There was an art piece entitled ‘Quest for a Vacant Space’ created by Phil Nevin and Verne Krastins, across from the gallery. I had a lovely chat to one of the artists, Phil, as we discussed the theme of traffic and the artwork, and how adults weren’t as playful as children were towards the checker board game. It was also nice watching people interact with the piece. Our group came too, and our tour guide announced the tour was over.

We had coffee, hot chocolate and pizza to end the night with. And we explored the exhibit ‘Things that go bump in the night’, while ‘Laura’ a band entertained people at the back of the gallery.

I really loved the paintings that Heidi Yardley created; they were eternal, dark and had a stillness about them. I also loved the photographs entitled ‘The Mourners’ by Georgia Metaxas. You could feel the subject’s loss and loneliness.

In all I had a fabulous night filled with art and culture. Although they have been doing this winter arts event for 6 years this was my first time attending the tour and actually seeing the great art on offer to the public. It was such a fulfilling experience, I’ll definitely go again next year!

If you did go, how did you enjoy it? If not, is there an exhibition you saw recently?

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