Art Exhibitions Galleries in Melbourne

If People Powered Radio

COMMUNITY voice, community action. For forty years, radio 3CR has provided a voice for ordinary people with something extraordinary to say.

40 years of broadcasting – Radio 3CR
Gertrude Contemporary, 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
Closed April 23.


COMMUNITY voice, community action. For forty years, radio 3CR has provided a voice for ordinary people with something extraordinary to say. Back, as they say, in the day, 3CR on Saturday afternoons was always worth listening to for Fitzroy’s arts community – No Limits, an arts magazine broadcast from 1:00PM featured reviews of the latest exhibitions, films, books, festivals and theatre – an essential guide for those in the know. It was followed by Steam Radio, an opportunity to hear the twentieth century in its youth,  through Ralf Knight’s marvellous collection of ’20s and ’30s music and broadcast ephemera. Incredibly, you can still hear Ralf every Saturday afternoon, 2:30-4:00PM, just like the old days.

This exhibition explores that history – radical, alternative, passionate broadcasting.   A huge collection of  recordings, technological hardware, photographs, written and graphic documents from the station’s vast historical archive will keep you amused for hours.

But it is not all about the history. There’s also a series of newly commissioned artworks by local artists that continue the tradition of art in broadcasting at 3CR. Every year, 3CR commissions a Radio-thon poster (as can be seen in the collection of posters displayed in the exhibition) and this year has worked with Gertrude Contemporary to produce three new posters: two by former Studio Artists, Emily Floyd and Reko Rennie, and one by Charlotte Clemens, who designed and hand-painted a large mural for 3CR on Alexandra Parade in the ’70s. During the exhibition, Melbourne artist and publisher Trent Walter of Negative Press will produce a large-scale poster based on archival documents exploring 3CR’s constitutional policy.

Megan Cope has created a new window work mapping the broadcast range of 3CR’s radio waves, utilising Gertrude Contemporary’s front window akin to the way 3CR uses its Smith Street façade as a billboard for social and community commentary on the burning issues that matter. Andrew McQualter has produced a new suite of drawings made in conversation with numerous past and present staff members and volunteers at 3CR, which explore the station’s organisational structure and the shape of its community.

Arika Waulu presents a video montage from the 2006 Stolenwealth Games and Black GST campaign – which was strongly supported by 3CR – projected onto an installation of painted paper bark native visas that acknowledge the sovereign nations that pre-existed European settlement in this country.

Off-site, but still local, artist Emily Floyd has made a 3CR 40th anniversary flag for Stewart Russell and Spacecraft Studio’s flag project, On Top of the World, to fly on a permanent outdoor flagpole located in the heart of Fitzroy and Collingwood’s gentrification zone. See it at John Wardell Architects and Spacecraft Studios, 25–31 Rokeby Street, Collingwood.

But that’s not all. If People Powered Radio is an opportunity to participate in the politics of broadcasting and listening, while exploring the different material and aesthetic supports that facilitate 3CR’s engagement with its diverse audience. Come along on Friday evening from 5:00–7:00PM, for the latest in a series of live, outside broadcasts from 200 Gertrude Street  that feature campaigns, current affairs and local musicians. The last evening of the exhibition, Saturday, April 23, will feature a live broadcast from 5:30PM of 3CR’s experimental music program, Let Your Freak Flag Fly, closing the show with noise, electronic soundscapes and improvised music.

But, why wait?  You can join the experience anytime – for the traditional, tune in your radio to 855 on the AM band – or for the shock of the new, livestream at



By John Rabling

I graduated from art school with majors in Painting and Art History. Since then I’ve created, curated, spoken and written about art and art practice of all kinds, worked for the National Trust of Australia, the Meat Market Craft Centre and exhibited my work in solo exhibitions, group and invitation shows. I am married and live with my family in Melbourne, Australia.

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