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Get to know the Video Suitcase Performance with Martha Ackroyd

The performance environment idea came about from me wanting to take video art out of the gallery context…taking it to the streets, nightclubs and nightlife of creative Melbourne.”

Tell us about The Video Suitcase Performance. The Video Suitcase is an urban/performance art project designed and conceptualised by Melbourne-based video artist Martha Ackroyd Curtis AKA MARTHS t.m.The Artist creates a ‘moving screen’ that quite literally is carried around, with The Stroll Collective. The little ‘video capsules’ are to be shown on the front of suitcases and walked in a chic and completely original creative concept.
 
How did this performance come about? First came the concept and the idea, next came the crew and then gaining a much-appreciated art grant from City of Yarra, which really took the project to the public.
 
Where do you draw most of your inspiration from? With video art, I’m inspired by everything from what’s going on in the media, to the latest pop culture. Ideas form when I’m looking through magazines, or hearing trashy talk on the television or walking through Melbourne exploring, overseas travel, or going to events that interest me. The Video Suitcase formed when I wanted to be able to be freer with a form of art that I adore making. I also wanted to merge performance with video. I have been working with video since art school (Victorian College of the Arts & RMIT) and was always encouraged and fostered to ‘own what I was making’ and do it!
 
Could you share a moment you will always cherish while performing? Probably standing and walking with the crew on Gertrude and Brunswick streets at 10pm at night and getting responses from the public, being really lovely and supportive and feeling the thrill of performing.
 
Could you share the reason as to why it's performed in a bar, rather than a gallery? The performance environment idea came about from me wanting to take video art out of the gallery context and into the greater public domain, taking it to the streets, nightclubs and nightlife of creative Melbourne. Loop Bar is also a notable art space, and we are really excited to be taking the project there. There is also a great support base for filmmakers, artists and video creators, which I really appreciate.
 
What do you hope viewers to walk out obtaining? A different and expanded view on video and performance, a sense of theatre and excitement and even a bit of a party-type atmosphere.
 
Which three words best describe The Video Suitcase Performance? Walking, Video, Theatre.
 
What challenges have you conquered throughout this project? The beginnings, where I was trying to work out how to get the project off the ground and thinking about where to head to get exposure, but hard work works. I pursued art grants and I designed The Stroll Collective logo and made the project into a package of art and entertainment.
 
What wisdom can you share from those challenges? Keep going, try all avenues, do not lose the fun. Do not be scared to step outside your comfort zone.
 
Fun fact about the show?  Video art that will be full sensory, and ‘walk around you.’
 
What’s one piece of advice you have for our readers? I think if you have an idea write it down, own it, and just get it out there. Ideas do not need to come from following another artist’s work or someone from decades ago, it can come from other sources or from inside you. I do respond visually to art that I see, I prefer to respond to art on a visual scale and less in a analysis through words and I feel comfortable with that.
 
Some exciting news you would like to share with us. The Video Suitcase will be taken to Victorian regional cities this year, you can keep updated with news on the website, and to follow Stroll Schedule: dates and times.

The Video Suitcase Performance will take place at Loop Project Space & Bar on Thursday March 8.