public spaces in advent

i’ve been thinking about christmas.

three ideas come to mind at the moment. these will evolve…

1. federation square has a big screen that, when it’s not being taken over by soccer, is available for ‘hire’ to show other projections – it regularly shows animations made by students at RMIT, for example, or archived stuff from ACMI. I was thinking we should talk with the fed square management about the possibility of showing some stuff during advent – nothing specifically christian, but something about advent themes.

2. also at fed square… the ACMI building (australian centre for the moving image) has fed_square.jpgLED screens built into its outside wall. these often have messages scrolling on them – at the moment, for example, there are messages about saving water, looking after the environment, etc.

you can see them on this image – they’re the coloured words, they ‘climb’ around the building, on different angles (the photo was taken on my phone, at dusk, hence the crap quality) – i think we could get access to them too… what would you write about advent, onto the walls of a building…?

3. i think we’ll do a series of drink coasters for advent this year… give them to different cafes / bars that we’ve built up a relationship with over the last year or so (it’s been hard work, but i’ve taken it on as a personal responsibility..). they’ll need an image that’s evocative not descriptive, a message that’s not explicitly christian but unmistakeably faith-filled…

suggestions are welcome…


  1. i think a beer bottle (especially a coopers pale ale) looks remarkably like a christmas tree…

    i wonder if one could set up a number of data projectors overnight projecting out of the windoes of the synod office onto the building across the street.

    i also wonder if stores, like the apple store and myers etc would allow you to install a flash file thats “not explicitly christian but unmistakeably faith-filled” onto their display computers across town.

    i also wonder if one could sponsr a graffitti wall for artists to paint christmas street art over the space of 5 weeks, each week creating a new piece over the old one.

    i wonder what would happen if one was to create 5 different nativity scenes that groups set up in odd parts of melbourne, one each week for advent, each emphasising something different…

    i like the coaster idea….

  2. Cheryl

    nice suggestions… i think it’s obvious there are lots of ‘canvas’s’ on which we could do this around the city…

    we’ve looked at a few of these already (great minds think alike!) – putting in a proposal to melbourne city council for one of its ‘art in the laneway’ projects, projecting onto the side of the synod (we can’t project onto any other building – too much glass, too close, etc. etc…. we do hope to rear project overnight an animation into a screen in the front of the synod bookshop

    what i’d really love suggestions on is the image / word stuff… just to get my mind started…

  3. mike

    We had a proposal in to a couple of shopping centres to put art into any empty un-let shop in the arcardes in the city – there’s heaps. Was well received, but other parts of the program were put on hold, so it was never followed through. Project was called “Art Fits”.

  4. Cheryl

    did you go through shopping centre management? it’s a nice option… i’m going to put in a proposal to rear project at night time to a screen at the front of the bookshop downstairs…

    (can you get data projectors with timers?)

  5. “No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need even of God

  6. Dave Andrews wrote a christmas letter in 2003 i think that said:

    1. Our first task, as always, will be to seek to be the peace we advocate. To be calm in the midst of the turmoil. So we can act constructively – with clarity and courage.
    2. Our second task will be to deal with our own violence. To deal with our own actual or potential violence. In our own hearts, our own homes, our own communities and our own countries.
    3. And our third task will be to do whatever we can to stop the violence elsewhere. Addressing the root causes of exploitation and oppression, as well as the bitter fruit of terror and terrorism. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor reminds us that: we may not always be able to stop the violence, but we should always protest against it.

    another idea is to use lyrics from songs, but we’d have to get copyright permission, songs from people like bruce cockburn:
    “Little round planet in a big universe
    sometimes it looks blessed, sometimes cursed
    Depends on what you look at obviously
    But even more it depends on the way that you see”

  7. Cheryl

    maybe leunig…
    “Love is born with a dark and troubled face. When hope is dead, and in the most unlikely place, love is born. Love is always born.”

    though i want something shorter… a moment of grace

  8. mike

    You need to find out who the managing agent for the arcades are – usually a real estate agent with the management contract, employing a marketing and centre management officer. Eg, the Strand Arcade is owned by the Walker Corporation, managed by Retail Realty on their behalf. Complicated. Centre management can help, if you frame it as a marketing opportunity –

  9. blaircam

    “Love is always born” works well as a short punchy tag line imho.

  10. angry young thing

    ‘May the peace of Christ disturb you’

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