Bus Projects is an artist-run organisation dedicated to supporting the critical, conceptual and interdisciplinary practices of Australian artists. In addition to its core gallery-based program of exhibitions, events and residencies, Bus Projects collaborates with a range of artists and arts organisations to produce projects off-site and within the public realm.
After seventeen years of operation, Bus Projects is one of the longest-running artist-run initiatives (ARIs) in Melbourne and has made a significant contribution to the vibrancy and diversity of the city’s arts culture.
Founded as Bus by Tim O’Donoghue, Kade McDonald, David Sutton, John Karatzas, and Chris Johnson in 2001, it was originally located at 117 Little Lonsdale St. Bus began as a design collective whose members held a shared interest in art. The gallery had three exhibition spaces known as the Skinny Gallery, Main Gallery and the Sound Gallery. It also had a project space that hosted artist residencies and performances by such bands as My Disco, Fabulous Diamonds, True Radical Miracle, Snawklor, Pummel, Night Terrors, Stabs, Kes, Oren Ambachi, Anthony Pataras, Robin Fox, and Ben Frost.
In 2007, the artist, Claire Mooney replaced Tim O’Donoghue as the gallery director and in February 2008, Bus incorporated and became officially known as Bus Gallery Inc. In November 2008, the artist Tim Webster became the gallery director and in December 2008, Bus Gallery Inc. formally changed its name to Bus Projects in order to reflect the group’s focus on spatial arts practice. In 2009, a new exhibition space dedicated to video projections was opened in the renovated stairwell of the building. Throughout 2009, Bus Projects was also home to the Sunshine and Grease, operated by Patrick O’Brien.
In January 2010, Bus Projects was notified of the building owner’s intention to redevelop the site. In March 2010, Bus Projects moved out of the building at 117 Little Lonsdale Street. Throughout 2010, Bus Projects presented a series of off-site events, including The Sound Playground and Play With Your Food in conjunction with other arts groups until relocating to Donkey Wheel House in early 2011.
In 2013 the organisation relocated to new gallery premises in Collingwood. The new site, located on the ground floor of 25 – 31 Rokeby Street, Collingwood, is housed within a former paint factory that has been transformed and redesigned by John Wardle Architects.
In 2020, Bus Projects moved into Collingwood Yards, a new, permanent and affordable home for scores of artists and independent arts organisations working across music, visual arts, performance, digital media, creative industries and beyond. Situated across the former Collingwood Technical School campus, Collingwood Yards spans over 6500sqm. The site consists of three buildings and a leafy central courtyard and is located in one of Australia’s most diverse, rapidly transforming and dense inner city neighbourhoods.
OUT OF BOUNDS is a series of performances and conversations with Australian artists that navigates the intricacies of their art practice, the way they have adapted to the world in isolation and their reflections on the emerging art world right now.
Concentric Curriculum is an artist-led parallel-school program embracing non-institutional, self-organised approaches to education and made in collaboration with local communities. This program enables artists and arts professionals to become creative collaborators and co-producers with diverse communities, resulting in long-term collaborations and sustained knowledge sharing.
‘Three Retracings’ is a sound publication that explores a process of returning, retracing and re-listening in urban space. Recorded periodically across three and a half years in Narrm Melbourne, Kaifeng and Suzhou; nine compositions form a set of sonic relations between neighbourhoods undergoing urban transformation in Australia and China. Placing three accumulative listenings in conversation across these contexts, the publication interrogates the contentious role of the field recordist as an itinerant documenter, archive-maker, visitor and tourist.
Born from interviews with close friends about vulnerability, ‘Ourselves’ explores the risk perceived in baring oneself and the value of support in constructing autonomous and unfiltered spaces. Presented on Bus TB on Wednesday 2 September, 7pm
Mira Loew, and Jane Frances Dunlop, Bus TVfull moon to new moon (hands, fastness, surprise) & other exchanges
For Bus TV, Loew and Dunlop share a new work that is the consequence of a set of exchanges occurring over spring 2020. A series of videos form an intimate conversation about distance, isolation, depression and the consequences of stopping by choice and by necessity.
‘Casual Stain’ is a radio play based on Aaron Billings’ own experience working at a multi-national retail & homewares store as the Pandemic hit. Released Fortnightly on Thursday evening at 7pm. The next episode will air on Thursday 23 July.
Eleanor Duffin (born Wexford, Ireland, currently lives and works in Bristol, UK) is a visual artist whose works are predominantly sculptural in nature. She employs a process of speculative questioning that draws influence from varied disparate ideas and anecdotes within anthropology, literature, physics and art history. She is interested in things that have a sense of self conscious autonomy and the potential to be generative agents.
Gertrude Talks is weekly discussion series produced in partnership with Gertrude Contemporary. Each week a new theme will be unpacked by host Georgia Banks with past and present Gertrude studio artists.
Caring for the Ecology is a show on Bus Radio that amplifies important conversation about the collaborative, collectivist and organisational structures that impact the way we work as arts workers and cultural producers.
Hosted by Bus Projects and Liquid ArchitectureCollective-Kolektif: an Indonesia-Australia dialogue on artist collectives
‘Collective-Kolektif’ hosts Indonesian collectives including KUNCI Cultural Studies Center, Ace House, OMNI space, Ruang MES 56, and ruangrupa; alongside Melbourne-based groups Her Africa Is Real, Hyphenated Projects, eleven-collective, and Sound School, with more to be announced.
Archie Barry will present a thread of curated readings from their diary entries written between 1999 and 2019, laced together with excerpts of affect theory, linguistics and existential philosophy. Polyvocal and correlative, the presentation searches for ramified language that could function (or dysfunction) to touch the perpetual flux of personhood.
Please join us on Saturday 30 November from 2 - 4pm for ‘The Design Plot’. This will be the final event at Bus Projects’ current Rokeby st site. ‘The Design Plot’ is helping us say goodbye to our site that we have occupied since 2013 before we move into our new site at CAP in 2020.