Gertrude Street Projection Festival announces 2021 winner Jen Valender.
Gertrude Street Projection Festival has announced Australasian artist Jen Valender as winner of the Judges Choice Award for her gripping work The Ocean Wants You Back. Seekers is proud to be the primary sponsor of the prize and a key supporter of the festival which illuminated our home in a wash of art, culture and community. Seekers was also lucky to be chosen as an exhibitor of two digital art pieces that played through the night for the entirety of the festival.
Proudly curated by Jacob Tolo, this year the festival hit fast forward to 500 years into the future, asking artists for speculative visions far beyond the now to consider the importance of constructs such as colour, race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, class and nationality.
Seekers joined the festivities with a bespoke shop front lighting display of our own.
In The Ocean Wants You Back, human skin cannot be exposed to the atmosphere. Physical distinctions between cultures and gender are concealed by protective clothing. We are one human race, unified by our fragility, equally vulnerable to the punishing reality of our changing environment. In this future we witness window cleaners abseil down a building. Fully covered, they clean away the surface to reveal a window into the possible future of this site. With each stroke a new section of the projection is revealed, exposing blinding light emanating from a potent, violent sea. As the workers descend into the earth the ocean begins to darken. This work embodies the precarity of the human condition, whilst questioning the future of our rising seas.
It’s a timely and gripping work by Jen Valender, who has developed her craft as an Australasian artist and writer. A gifted polymath, she works across moving image, sculpture, sound and performance. Her practice and research explore connections between absurdity and dissonance to surface undercurrents of ethical and environmental dilemmas.
Be sure to check out the full program of featured artists from this year’s festival at: gspf.com.au/program-2021 or Jen Valender's wrap up video of the 2021 festival on Instagram here