GOOday/GOOdbye – The Food Court 2013-2016


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May 2016
Words by Megg Minos

GOOday/GOOdbye – The Food Court 2013-2016

the people/the past/the present

The Food Court would like to acknowledge, with respect, the first people of this site.

Participating artists, board members and volunteers - with thanks:

Alesh Macak, Annee Miron, Ara Dolation, Amie Anderson, Birds A.R.I, Clare Walton, David Short, Geoffrey Barnett, Ian Stamp, Jonathan Homsey, Jessica Wilson, Kane Alexander, Laura Trist, Maria Miranda, Michele Donegan, Melissa Deerson, Minela Krupic, Megg Minos, Matteo Volpi, Michael Burrowes, Miles Green, Mark Johnstone, Nico Reddaway, Sasha Margolis, Siying Zhou, Sammy Besley.

Founding member James Wright was offered use of the space in 2013; this

gesture was made possible through the program of urban revitalisation

headed by Marcus Westbury of Renew Australia.

Along with several other artists - Polly Stanton, Matt Tierney, David Short and Nico Reddaway; the Food Court was occupied – the site that had indeed been a food court, complete with KFC and juice bars was now a multi-disciplinary art wonderland.

Over the course of the first year, various members moved on, drawn by

residencies in foreign lands, further study and work. The nature of the ARI is irrepressible.

Amie Anderson became involved in early 2013 and in the absence of the

other original members; she and Nico Reddaway formed a close working

relationship and took on most of the responsibilities of running The Food Court.

Over the last three years have been supported by other creative practitioners; who have maintained an interest in the space as exhibitors, performers and as a migratory flock of board members as well as Renew Australia and Docklands Spaces.

unfolding chambers

The Docklands is a marginal site, a fringe of high-rise residential towers, franchise businesses and a medley of restaurants and bars on the edge of a city that has fewer spaces to expand into.

It is an environment that was developed so quickly and with such

determination to lock capital into physical space, that the thought of multi-generational inhabitants, creative classes or cultural diversity has been lost in the forward momentum of development.

Of the pre-existing post-colonial cultural identity (architectural and social) there is little evidence in the way that the site presents. Of the pre-colonial geological and social environment there is no evidence – no faux-natural recreated ecologies to indicate what was on the site before. The waterways have been straightened, deepened, widened. The large bluff at the edge of the site, at Spencer Street, dynamited and removed with pick and shovel by children and men in the 1860s to create the dead-end of a train station – a branch line that extended from the tentative city of Melbourne, to the swamps and industry of the docks.

There are the dutiful civic deposits of landscaping, facades and public art (somewhere to sit, something to distinguish your building, something to look at) but no graffiti, posters, self-sown plants or litter to indicate any cultural preoccupations in the site besides eating, shopping and living quietly in an apartment. It is a locale, but it doesn’t feel like anyone’s local.

As an artist, the site represents neither nature nor the fascinating midden of urban life. The city hyperbolically expands, forced to its outer limits by the pressure of density. It uncoils like a Nautilus shell, pushing out from a tightly packed centre to an ever expanding series of larger and larger chambers that represent both luxury and emptiness, high-density and isolation.

inside & outside

Artists have historically most often inhabited marginal urban spaces - lofts, warehouses, rooms above shops, in basements and alleyways. Artists are inside, outside, over and under buildings. Rent, space, light and proximity to resources are definable factors for decisions made about where to make art, to be artists and to show art.

Less definable is the cachet accorded to places that are cool, the desirable aesthetic of creative spaces. Part of this is that sites close to the city and located in city fringe suburbs represent possible contact with the cultural elite, decision makers, collectors and curators. There is an ecological network of interested parties, those who are invested in the cultural life of the polis, participants who can extend their urban lifestyle to include viewing and making art with the possibility of more immediate reward.

It can be that the integrity of the work is enhanced by the location; which people may have seen the work, how it was part of the culturally recognised significance of the site and its future artistic legacy.

the food court

Over the last three years, The Food Court has evolved as a space that lays no claims to the outcomes or nature of the work created, displayed and performed. The curatorial decisions have been marked by consensual agreement based on accessibility, creative use of the space and conceptual risk taking.

Site responsive work has been mostly represented, the space itself providing a starting point for conceptual work, the site and location has framed conceptual responses to the nature of development, the ethics of industrialised food production, the nature of work and public space and installed pieces that have recontextualised the space (the abandoned Food Court, with it’s existing furniture and signage) or challenged the
interior/exterior binary.

Artists who have developed and shown work in The Food Court represent a
diverse range of ages, socio-economic positions, cultural backgrounds and physical ability and work across mediums, representing visual arts, music, sound, dance, theatre, literature, performance art and video/multimedia.

The Food Court has represented a series of transitory creative occupations, dictated by the precarious tenancy of the site. This tenuous existence and the unselfconscious occupation of an outer-edge, non white-cube space has led to a fluidity of purpose, flexibility of use and astounding outcomes.

Words by Megg Minos


Food Court ARI to close – Arts Hub article


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wide-folksDate of article: 10/05/2016

Article by Gina Fairley
Slowly being engulfed by cranes and car parks, Melbourne's dockside ARI stops serving up art at The Food Court.

As The Food Courts’ writer-in- residence, Megg Minos, has described: ‘The Food Court is not like any other A.R.I. It has lived on the edges of things – physically and in its curatorial focus.’

Occupying an abandoned food court within the Waterfront City complex at Melbourne’s Docklands, the project came about when Marcus Westbury called for artists to activate the area. It was a model that he had made successful with the Renew Newcastle project, which gave disused city spaces to artist and creatives.

Read: Marcus Westbury to shape new arts precinct (Arts Hub article)

The Food Court has survived with a month-to- month rental agreement for the past three years, however at the end of June; it will close its doors to the sound of building works that surround it.

‘We are one of the last spaces left – there were about 14,’ said co-founder Amie Anderson.


With seating for over one hundred people, the Festival Food Court lay abandoned for two years after closing its doors in 2010. A group of artists decided to crowd fund to turn it into an experimental space for emerging and established artists - part gallery, part residency and part social space.

And with a mere $5,500 raised through a Pozible Campaign, The Food Court ARI was born.

Anderson said: ‘I never really meant to take it on - it was not my vision to run an ARI- but people just kept dropping off over time.’ Anderson has run the space with Nico Reddaway over the past three years, and has been intermittently supported by a small team of artists, all contributing to the life of The Food Court.

‘We are actually quite exhausted now and are ready to focus on own work,’ said Anderson, who added that her attraction to the project as an artist was to work in an 'odd space.'

She continued: ‘A lot of things I would have done differently. I would have liked to have had a more official board in place to help to bring on people with particular management skills, but people want to give time and energy into something that will grow and is more long term.

‘We could never give that confirmation. There was always the threat of being kicked out each month,’ she continued.

‘But, we didn’t have to worry about things that ARIs in the city do – they have higher rent, get more funding and have boards and therefore are more responsible to more people and organizations. We had more freedom; financially and flexibility wise, we could give artists a space to experiment in that other ARIs couldn’t. Some artists could be working on a show, in the space, for weeks before opening, where as in other spaces they might only have one or two days.


This project was always going to have an expiry date. It comes with the territory of using buildings caught in stasis between former glory and pregnant with their new future.

‘It’s pretty crazy actually – there is development all around us,’ said Anderson with a laugh.

‘But I don’t think this part of Docklands will host artists again,’ she lamented.

The Food Court has had a great relationship with the City of Melbourne and Places Victoria, who subsidise their rent. With just $20 rent on the space to pay weekly, that meant artists could be in residence for free and exhibit for a very low fee.

Anderson explained that the ARI hired out the venue for private events to subside the running costs – electricity, Wi-Fi and installation materials.

‘Hiring the space out occasionally kept us going and put money back into the space. It was also great as it invited the general public also into the space,’ said Anderson, adding that it was especially important today to find alternative ways of doing projects – making them happen.

She continued: ‘It is very important for small organisations and emerging artists to use whatever space they can and to be creative about it - it forces you to think differently about how you make work – to consider the space its history and its future.

‘We have had so many artists come through The Food Court with great ideas, but many of them just haven’t been able to fund them.

‘We are really grateful for our time here and that we could use the space in that way,’ she concluded on behalf of the founders and team of artists behind The Food Court.

The Food Court closing party takes place on 28 May 2016 featuring local musicians and artists.

It is located at 427 Docklands Drive, Docklands.


GOOday GOOdbye – Final Food Court exhibition


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It’s time to say GOOdbye to GOOday and Red Rooster and let the Docklands development tower on. We invite you to a final group show to acknowledge the transient, creative occupation of an abandoned Food Court in the Docklands. Featuring various artists in residence over the past three years and artists who have contributed to the shifting nature of the space.

The Food Court is not like any other A.R.I. It has lived on the edges of things – physically and in its curatorial focus. It has been a space that has drawn the attention outwards, into a flexible and oftentimes unfamiliar physical environment. It has drawn people out of the city – to the Docklands - and made the journey part of the experience. For the artists it has worked both ways – as a locus of site-specific response and as a serene, and sometimes surreal, space to develop existing creative preoccupations.

The Food Court has gratefully received the support of Docklands Spaces and Renew Australia.

Alesh Macak, Annee Miron, Ara Dolatian, Amie Anderson, Clare Walton, Chloe Caday, David Short, David Waters, Geoffrey Barnett, Giordano Biondi, Ian Stamp, In The Meantime, Jonathan Homsey, Jessica Wilson, Kane Alexander, Laura Trist, Maria Miranda, Michele Donegan, Melissa Deerson, Minela Krupic, Megg Minos, Matteo Volpi, Michael Burrowes, Miles Green, Mark Johnstone, Nico Reddaway, Sasha Margolis, Siying Zhou, Sammy Besley, The Birds A.R.I.

The Food Court closing party will take place on May 28th with a line up of local musicians and artists such as Daniel Jenatsch, Burn City Waackers, Carmelo Grasso and Dancers.

Images by Shae Rooke:


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RADIATE Art Circle Show


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25 emerging artists from Yooralla’s Art Circle come together to show their recent work at The Food Court. The group exhibition will trace the many different artistic processes and ideas the artists have explored in skill based workshops in film and photography, painting and drawing and printmaking over the past year. The outcomes on display will demonstrate both the progress and growth of each artist’s independent artistic practice but also their unique approaches and interests. Yooralla’s Art Circle is an initiative that creates opportunities for artists with or without disability to work together, providing an inclusive network for expression through Visual Art.

Andrew Barbour
Antony Jones
Ashley Mitchel
Ben Chew
Brianna George
Fiona Trowell
Geoffrey Barnett
Ian Stamp
Janelle Roberts
Kelly Williams
Laura Trist
Mark Johnstone
Mathew Clark
Michael Bonyhady
Michael Burrowes
Miles Green
Nathaniel Hession
Nick Bywater
Noela Goss
Pamela Bates
Sammy Besley
Shaylene Clotworthy
Stewart Wiley
Stuart Hutchinson
Trevor Fitzgerald

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Confluence : Art on site in Docklands


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Confluence : Art on site in Docklands draws together threads of narrative about an area defined by its relationship to water. A liminal place of transition, migration and arrival. Artists Dagmara Gieysztor, Clive Bourne, Deb Bain-King, Annee Miron, and Ashlee Laing have spent the last year sifting and responding to the history and landscape of Docklands. Out of this research has come a range of ephemeral art works that include sound, performance, sculpture, projection and audience participatory encounters.
The Docklands is hostage to its heritage as an outland. An ancient Aboriginal feeding ground wetland, formless to the settler eye because of the mud and the ooze. So the messiest aspects of city life rippled to its edge. It is this contrast with its present that makes it a fascinating place for making art. The results were showcased in this 2 hour art walk finishing at The Food Court.

Confluence: Art on Site in Docklands is a Wynter Projects and The Front collaboration.
For further information:

The Front and Wynter Projects acknowledge the Boon Wurrung and the Wurundjeri people as the traditional owners of these lands and waters. We offer our respect to the Kulin nation and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.

Images by Shuttermain:

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Iconic independent designers Edgeley, Gun Shy and Doodad and Fandango have come together to present 'Head Babes in Charge', a celebration of the power of glamour, women in rock and the joyful irreverence of pop art. Talent, style and skill converge at the edge of the city as the babes and their collections take over the runway.

Immerse yourself in a showing that features some of Melbourne's most creative talent as they blur the divide between fashion and performance.


Edgeley's fashion designs walk that all-important tightrope between high glamour and practicality, elegance and kitsch. The world of performance is a constant source of inspiration; as such, her collections subtly reference the glitter and greasepaint of velvet-draped stages, bringing a touch of smoke and mirrors to the workaday world.


Concentrating on the possibilities of extreme faux fur, Gun Shy produces a range of jackets and stoles that are expressive, sculptural and technically brilliant. The Gun Shy vision has been embraced by creative luminaries, such as Conchita Wurst and Clairy Browne and endorsed by none other than the legendary Wu Tang Clan.


These pieces are radical pop art accessories for people who love colour, cleverness and a dash of political commentary. Collections and bespoke, these future collectables are already iconic.

Head Babes In Charge is part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival as an Offsite Runway.


Photo credits: Evan Fowler


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Image by Matteo Volpi

Through interaction with The Food Court space, multiple layers of materials, site specific collaboration and sound, artists will explore literal, interpersonal and social meanings of the concept, ‘Overgrown’ - whilst creating an environment where the audience experiences a sense of being contained within. This fluid relation between environment and audience seeks to create a relationship that impresses the theme and encourages interplay.

Artists will engage with the notions of growing wild, becoming overwhelmed and overcome – with their work seeping into every space and crack, reaching out to all the senses.

Friday night – Opening night - will showcase this multi-sensory event, with live music and performances - 6pm till late.

Participating artists -
Clay Ravin
Sarah Bunting
Maara Kateryna Serwylo
Natalie Tabone
Katherine Stoilkovich
Barbera Van Oost
Robbie Cameron
Tabitha Hocking
Carly Fischer
Nerida Roe
Courtney Webb
Katie Buckley
Brooke Wolsley


Photos of exhibition opening by Matteo Volpi:

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Mapping Melbourne: From Spaces Past


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Image: Texture Mono Print, Minela Krupic & Alesh Macak 

Multicultural Arts Victoria

Mapping Melbourne: From Spaces Past

A view into Cambodia’s complex social and political history, past to present, through the lens of memory, ghostly spaces, migration and reclamation, from the perspectives of two Australian artists. Visual artist Minela Krupic and video artist Alesh Macak present their observations of Cambodia’s social environment through the research findings and collaboration with KAMA Centre made possible through the VCA and MCM Professional Pathways program supported by Creative Victoria.

This show is part of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Mapping Melbourne 2015 Festival. Check out the full festival program here:

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The Lifted Brow: The Art Issue


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The Lifted Brow: The Art Issue

A multiplicity of practice is brought together for this exhibition project and Art Issue publication. The exhibition acts as an ignition point for engagement with the breadth of creative practitioners that The Lifted Brow fosters through its print and online platforms. Issues of gender, sexuality, politics and economics are teased out with a diverse range of mediums, including video, sound, sculpture, textile and 2D works by Ruth O'Leary, Lee Lai, Michael Hawkins, Elwyn Murray, TextaQueen, kt spit, Simona Castricum, and Kate Geck.

The Lifted Brow is creating space for experimentation off-the-page, for an intense susurration of ideas and aesthetics. Discussions, online and off, will be encouraged and developed throughout the project period — including conversations between participating artists, The Art Issue contributors and The Brow's editorial team.

The creative vibration that exists between creative work IRL, online and within the pages of a printed magazine will be debated and analysed. The fallout from The Art Issue and exhibition will be unpacked long after its brief lifespan.

Curated by Channon Goodwin

Image credit Angus Cameron

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