Review: Tessellate at Radar
Last weekend a dramatic shift occurred in Melbourne’s club scene. Radar – the new space from the brains behind Section 8 and Ferdydurke – quietly opened its doors with a stellar weekend of local talent. Medium spearheaded the Friday whilst a joint venture between two smaller collectives – ‘Tessellate’ – took control of the Saturday we were able to witness.
A new venture from Melbourne crew Crate Mates – Tessellate explain themselves as “a club night focused on left-field individualistic expressionism.” The group placed a heavy emphasis on unorthodox musical performances and quirky visual art installations to transform Radar into a vivid, colourful space. Bookended by two Crate Mates – Eddy Gordo and Frou Frou – the latter of which recently featured on Novel’s mix series, Tessellate also featured live performances from Touchwood and Kettokai, ensuring that the night would never just rely on a figure behind CDJs. As well as the headlining slot belonging to local legend Andras, who’s DJ sets and productions never fail to put on a show, rounding out the bill for an opening night at Radar that is one for the books.
However, Tessellate’s emphasis on the visual art transformed the space – a blank canvas begging to be filled – into an empyrean, glowing visual treat. Commissioned by ‘Olis’ head Kirsty McKellar, the art explored themes of ornaments and tessellation inspired by David Malouf. Kirsty felt the event was “an intricate mosaic; multi-faceted and varied in colours, moods, feelings and approaches” and allowed each of the seven visual artists to freely explore the themes and ideas within the space. Through her intricate knowledge of local artists, McKellar sourced art from NGV feature artist Janno Mclaughlin – who’s handwoven butterflies hung from the ceiling alongside McKellar’s digital prints that provided a commentary on the perception of loss at the back of the dancefloor. As well as two artworks that consisted of nails hammered into a canvas portraying Marilyn Monroe and an advertisement for sake – by Japanese artist Noriko Sakamoto – that flanked the bar. The third group exhibition by McKellar, the artworks and installations that were commissioned provided an example of how to properly combine music and art, as well as highlighting the potential of radar to become a visual art space.
Whilst the venue layout stayed relatively similar, the renovations that had undergone the space modernised it and created a much more intimate, eclectic space. Grey leather booths provided sanctuary from the bustle of the crowd and the raised seating area complete with stools and tables, provided a pleasant spot to view the music from afar whilst drinking your choice of a high-quality range of local beers such as Stockade’s 8-Bit IPA and the Wolf & Willows Pacific Sour. That said, the presence of bright white lights on the ground – assumingly for safety – made the venue distractingly luminous. This made Radar far from your typical pitch-black club and something you wouldn’t expect from the previous home of Lounge, in turn undermining the ability for the space to reach its’s full potential.
Despite this, Radar’s opening weekend most certainly cemented it as a weekend hotspot and with a few tweaks to the lighting the venue will surely become a clubbing staple. Tessellate has also proven that local club culture and talent is far from dwindling and we are keen to see where the future takes the young collective.