It could be said that the last bastion of Melbourne’s bohemia is Smith St, surrounded by tired, disused factories and warehouses and the ever-present government housing estates.
People in traditional dress walk comfortably among Aborigines, ferals, homeless people, artists, footy fans and the ebb and flow of the commuter traffic taking sweet tea at Sonsa’s or a spanakopita at Mellisa’s, having ones shoes repaired or counting out your last few coins as you stare down at the finest selection of meats in Melbourne. Smith Street is a village and it’s this diversity, where culture is enriched by retail in service to the community, sustaining each other, that drew Toy Satellite founders, Justina Curtis and Andrew Garton to the neighbourhood.
Justina and Andrew established Toy Satellite and its sister webhosting service, c2o, in Fitzroy in 1995. They’ve been running their media arts activities in and around Smith Street since they opened their first studio there in 1997.
SmithStreet.org is one of a string of Toy Satellite projects that is concerned with the recording of public memory, in particular where the population intersects with commerce and the pressures that are brought to bear on governments that need to care for, support, educate and feed their ever growing constituencies.
Says Andrew of this web site, “SmithStreet.org is not only about alerting the community to how unabated development can consume, rather than serve, it is a public record of what has been, what is and what will become – an ongoing community narrative that may aid in identifying the legacies we leave each other, those that have been left and those that are yet to be realised.”
Toy Satellite and c2o are committed to the community of Smith Street.