Vivid Syd­ney turns ten

Vivid Syd­ney cel­e­brates 10 years of cre­ativ­ity with a huge pro­gram of light, mu­sic and ideas.

Where Sydney - - Contents - By Roshan Sukhla

THE MUCH-LOVED VIVID SYD­NEY fes­ti­val turns 10 this month. Over the past decade it has grown to be the world’s largest fes­ti­val of light, mu­sic and ideas. From 25 May to 16 June, Vivid Syd­ney will take over the city, spread­ing colour, light and joy. With new Vivid Light precincts, ex­tra­or­di­nary su­per­stars per­form­ing for Vivid Mu­sic and some of the world’s fore­most cre­atives on stage for Vivid Ideas, this year’s pro­gram is truly out of this world.


The hall­mark of Vivid Light each year is the Light­ing of the Sails at the Syd­ney Opera House. This year Aus­tralian artist Jonathan Zawada has de­signed a spec­ta­cle called “Me­ta­math­emag­i­cal”. The artist has cre­ated var­i­ous scenes that evolve and dis­solve as ob­jects are in­tro­duced, re­moved or un­dergo meta­mor­pho­sis. Zawada says, “I re­ally wanted to take a big pic­ture view of both what Vivid is about, but more im­por­tantly, how I feel about Aus­tralia as this kind of el­e­men­tal, time­less place that is also com­pletely new and full of en­ergy”.

The beau­ti­ful Royal Botanic Gar­den Syd­ney comes alive with light works in­spired by na­ture. “Aqueous” by Jen Lewin is an in­ter­ac­tive land­scape of me­an­der­ing path­ways of light. Re­flec­tion and shift­ing colour and light re­act to au­di­ence par­tic­i­pants as they run and walk along the pathway. “Par­rot Party” by Zara Pas­field fea­tures a cheer­ful flock of brightly coloured birds perch on the stag­gered tiers of an open pav­il­ion. They chat­ter, they tweet, chirp and sing, send­ing out a warm and invit­ing wel­come.

This year Cus­toms House will be lit up in celebration of two Aus­tralian icons who turn 100 this year, Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie. These two char­ac­ters are the cre­ation of Aus­tralian au­thor May Gibbs, and are part of many Aus­tralian child­hoods. Gibbs is one of Aus­tralia’s best loved clas­sic chil­drens’ book il­lus­tra­tors and au­thors. Her love of the Aus­tralian bush was por­trayed in her work, and “The Gum­nut Ba­bies”, May’s clas­sic book about Aus­tralian bush fairies, was first pub­lished in 1916, fol­lowed by her most fa­mous cre­ations of all, “Snug­gle­pot and Cud­dlepie” in 1918.

“Vir­tual Vi­bra­tion” at the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Aus­tralia (MCA) is a highly col­lab­o­ra­tive work pro­duced by the Spinifex Group in con­junc­tion with Aus­tralian artist Jonny Ni­esche and com­poser Mark Pritchard. The shift­ing sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence is ac­com­pa­nied by a beau­ti­ful sound­scape.

“BALLPIT” at The Rocks trans­forms his­toric Cad­mans Cot­tage into a vir­tual space where vis­i­tors swim, jump, push and dance through rooms filled with tens of thou­sands of vir­tual, re­spon­sive toy balls. Move­ments and in­ter­ac­tions by vis­i­tors con­stantly change the per­for­mance of the balls—chil­dren will love this one!

Dar­ling Har­bour will be show­ered in light again with “Fan­tas­tic Oceans”. Cre­ated by Or­a­cle Liq­uid, this art-meets-tech­nol­ogy wa­ter foun­tain, light and laser ex­pe­ri­ence cel­e­brates an en­vi­ron­ment where bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent crea­tures live deep be­neath the ocean.

Luna Park is a Vivid Light precinct for the first time with large-scale pro­jec­tions on the façade of Coney Is­land, while the iconic Fer­ris Wheel will be all lit up.

VIVID LIGHT (Op­po­site page) "Me­ta­math­emag­i­cal", artist im­pres­sion by Jonathan Zawada. (This page) "Aqueous" by artist Jen Lewin.

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