Artbox / The Jam Factory Takeovers, City of Stonnington
A key action of the City of Stonnington’s Economic Development Strategy is to reactivate commercial precincts such as iconic Chapel Street. This includes exploring avenues to takeover and reactivate vacant shopfronts. Many Melbourne precincts have seen this issue exacerbated by COVID-19 with shop vacancies on the rise and increasing economic and social challenges for neighbourhoods.
With the support City of Stonnington, Artbox presented new art takeovers by three Melbourne artists bringing empty retail spaces in The Jam Factory to life with art – injecting a sense of joy and play that reflects the dynamic community and character of the precinct.
Ghost Jam, an installation celebrating family restaurant memories by artist MO.
Facing the street, Friday Night Fever by glamourous local art duo The Huxleys riff on Chapel Street’s infamous nightlife.
Meanwhile, contemporary dance artist Jonathan Sinatra with an evolving mix of video and live iterations of his epic The Daily Dance Project.
By integrating art with the urban environment, these works inspired and brightened the experience of locals and visitors to the famous Chapel Street retail precinct, while giving a fresh perspective on how we see familiar places.
Artist: Jonathan Sinatra
Location: former Cue store, 500 Chapel St (next to Soda Rock Diner)
Jonathan Sinatra – The Daily Dance Project
Dancer Jonathan Sinatra has created and recorded a unique dance performance every single day since December 2019, then posted these recordings each day on Instagram.
Using dance to explore the city and beyond, his work has become a journal of life and movement across Melbourne pre-pandemic, throughout lockdowns and post-COVID. Jonathan describes the work as “a durational video essay exploring contemporary dance practices in uncommon dance locations.”
Jonathan has danced alone and with collaborators, in private and public spaces, and in a range of architectural and natural environments. From Fed Square to his own bedroom and everywhere in between, Jonathan treats all these environments as a shifting studio space to explore dance and video making.
500 Chapel St
Responding to the space at 500 Chapel St during his residency, Jonathan’s work combined live dance, collaboration, and video projection, turning the shop window into a screen of another sort. Over the weeks, passers-by experienced Jonathan performing new live and improvised works in and around the space, and changing daily videos screening in the shopfront window.
Jonathan reached a heroic milestone of 1000 days of daily dance on 17 September 2022. A huge accomplishment and displays dedication to his artform as an essential part of everyday life.
Artist: The Huxleys
Location: front windows of former TGI Fridays, 500 Chapel St
The Huxleys – Friday Night Fever
The Huxleys give you Friday Night Fever – a dark sparkling universe where you can be anyone or anything you like and lose yourself in the magic of dance, disco and decadence. Having the opportunity to take over the iconic TGI Fridays was an exciting prospect to offer passersby the chance to take a queer, fantastical detour from everyday life, bringing a surreal sense of fun, colour and fantasy to the streets. Playing with the aesthetics of excess-meets-camp, The Huxleys blend high and kitsch fashion as only disco drag can – in stilettos, glitter, fur and outrageous masks. slightly alien gures mix it up with dancing pink galahs, all making for an absurdly fun party.
The Huxleys are a dynamic duo of cataclysmic proportions who present camp commentary and spectacle across the visual art, performance and entertainment sectors. Their photography and performance art traverses the classifications of costume, film and recording. A visual assault of sparkle, surrealism and the absurd, the Huxleys saturate their practice and projects with a glamorous, androgynous freedom which sets out to bring some escapism and magic to everyday life.
Location: rear windows of former TGI Fridays, inside the Jam Factory
MO – Ghost Jam
Artist MO (Imogen Van Sebille) uses collage to create her works of art. Her playful and colourful creatures, human and non-human, are always full of emotion and expression. Ghost Jam is a whimsical installation featuring one of MO’s friendly ghost characters having a party in the space of a former family restaurant, the iconic TGIF. Ghost Jam represents the memories of all the good times people have shared here in the past and brings the positive vibes of the collective experience of friends and families coming together and sharing a meal. MO’s Ghost Jam keeps the memories warm while looking forward to making new ones!
MO states: “This space used to be a family restaurant and I wanted to draw on the collective experience of coming together and sharing a meal. The ghost represents both the memories of good times that have been experienced at the Jam Factory, and the memories yet to be made as it transitions into a new space.”
MO’s Ghost Jam keeps the memories warm while looking forward to making new ones!
Practicing as a visual artist since 2015, MO has exhibited in Melbourne and London. She has a background in fashion and design and is a graduate of RMIT Media Arts. Her work has a versatile range of applications from original works on paper to limited edition clothing, shop windows and installation
The Chapel Street Vacant Shop Activation Program was delivered by Artbox for the City of Stonnington in partnership with the Victorian Government and the Inner South-east Metropolitan Partnership, with the assistance of Newmark Capital.
Artbox is an artist-led company delivering creative experiences in unexpected places since 2013. Artbox champions meaningful, diverse, and sustainable art and culture as integral to creating fulfilling experiences and bringing value to the places we live and work in.