Glow Winter Arts Festival Lights Up Melbourne

A technicolour wonderland brimming with local art, laughs, cinema, and plenty more is about to descend on Melbourne. The Glow Winter Arts Festival, which was first launched in 2014, will be lighting up the south side for the next few weeks with all manner of bright and colourful fancies — from events to literal lights in the form of installations and projections from the team of talented folk behind the Gertrude Street Projection Festival.

910Apeiron by Kate Geck. Courtesy of the artist and Glow Winter Arts Festival.

The City of Stonnington will be hosting the festival featuring a series of free and ticketed events for 11 days, from the 11th ‘till the 21st of August, offering a vibrant slate of varying delights, meaning that there’s sure to be something for everyone.

I recently had the chance to chat with one of the artists participating in the Glow Winter Arts Festival, Fairy Turner, whose installation piece Disco Bin is one of the most fun artworks I’ve had the pleasure of coming across so far this year:

911Disco Bin by Fairy Turner. Courtesy of the artist and Glow Winter Arts Festival.

How did you come to be involved with the ‘Glow Winter Arts Festival’?

Fairy Turner: Kym Ortenburg from the Gertrude Street Projection Festival was aware of my piece ‘Disco Bin’ and invited me to be a part of Glow, filling the bins of Greville Street with light, colour and sound.

Tell us a little bit about ‘Disco Bin’; your piece in the festival.

FT: The disco bin was initially created for the Space Between Light Festival at the Richmond Housing Estate in 2015. The intention of the event was to illuminate dark, ominous spaces in order to engage members of the public and residents of the estate with sites commonly thought of as unsafe. I wanted to create a conceptually accessible piece that anyone could enjoy. With a personal affection for disco music, I hoped the ironic transformation of a public trash bin into a radiating, disco-loving speaker box would do just that.

Was ‘Disco Bin’ conceived especially for the ‘Glow Winter Arts Festival’? And if so, can you tell us a little bit about that, in regards to choosing the location and even the design of the bin you’ve chosen to utilise?

FT: While the original disco bin was conceived for the Space Between Light Festival, the panel design was adapted to fit the template of the public bins in the City of Stonnington. The lantern-like design of all the public bins seem to vary and while this particular stencil is less like that of your typical disco dance floor as was the one Richmond, it is unique to the site and will be specific to this festival. Ultimately I look for a design that will pump out maximum light and colour while still being able to function as an everyday rubbish bin.

How does the ‘Disco Bin’ tie into your broader catalogue of work?

FT: My current practice is predominately concerned with formal properties of the picture plane, which I tend to investigate sculpturally. I’m interested in abstract painting and it’s manifestation in a juxtaposing of unlikely materials. Perception is a regular theme in my work and in the case of the disco bin, the shifting perception of the ordinary into something fantastical and absurd results in an unexpected interaction.

912Disco Bin by Fairy Turner. Courtesy of the artist and Glow Winter Arts Festival.

Was the use of such technology in a work new for you? And if so, how did you find that experience?

FT: Yes, absolutely, this project was the first occasion I have worked with light, projection and sound despite meaning to for a long time! Coming from a painting background, the technical side of things presented many challenges. I had a very amateur understanding of what was needed to pull off a dynamic installation in a public space with no power source and a limited budget. It was an extremely rewarding experience to move through the process from concept to product, resolving each logistical roadblock at a time.

How did you come to choose the colours featured in the ‘Disco Bin’? Is it safe to assume that you were inspired by illuminated dance floors, á la ‘Saturday Night Fever’?

FT: Mapping out public space and presenting itself as a readymade lantern; the bin seemed obviously in need of light and colour, though the disco aspect came later. The entire process of carefully attending to this rusted, neglected bin became particularly comical and the persona of the lonely bin turned sassy disco enthusiast began to develop. It seemed only fitting that the jazziest, occasionally heartfelt disco tunes should blast from within and, coinciding with the design of the frame, a Saturday night fever dance floor was born.

What’s your background?

FT: I was born in Perth and after graduating school, moved to London to study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, specializing in Fine Art. Following completion of my Diploma, I spent several years traveling and eventually moved to Melbourne to finish my studies. I am now in my final semester of my Bachelor of Fine Art Degree at RMIT.

Have you found your involvement with the Glow festival and your making of the ‘Disco Bin’ inspiring or influential to your process overall? And how did you find the experience as a whole?

FT: I have definitely become a more resourceful artist and seen a material shift in my practice, working mostly with found, industrial materials. The response to the original disco bin was overwhelming and I felt extremely aware of the importance of creative interventions in public space. Overall the experience has been really positive and I’ve gained invaluable insight and understanding into processes outside of my studio practice.

'Disco Bin' at the 2015 Space Between Light Festival ?#spacebetweenlightfestival #disco #publicart

A video posted by Fairy Turner (@turnerfairy) on

Are there any works, other than your own, that you’re particularly excited to see at ‘Glow’?

FT: I’ve seen Yandell Walton’s work before so am looking forward to her projection, but each work will transform the space differently so I’m excited to see it all come together on the night.

What’s next for you?

FT: I have an upcoming exhibition at First Site Gallery in October and am working towards the Graduate show at the end of the year.

Many thanks to Fairy Turner for taking the time to chat with us.

The Glow Winter Arts Festival will run from August 11 – 21 at various locations and venues throughout the City of Stonnington. You can find out more about the events, where to find them, and how to purchase tickets at

You can also follow the Glow Winter Arts Festival on:

Twitter: @WhatStonnington
Instagram: @whats_on_stonnington

If you’d like to discover more about Fairy Turner, head on over to her Instagram @turnerfairy.

Courtesy of Glow Winter Arts Festival via