Review: Vivid lights make Sydney shine

By Penny Craswell

One of the most famous and widely visited parts of the annual Vivid Festival of Light, Music and Ideas, is the array of light installations and projections that turn freezing Sydney in nearly-winter into a playground of light and fun (and crowds, the less good bit).

The Museum of Contemporary Art with projection, Vivid Light 2015. Photo: Penny Craswell
The Museum of Contemporary Art with projection, Vivid Light 2015. Photo: Penny Craswell

This year I thought I would do a proper post on the lights so that you can all see it for yourselves without having to fly to Sydney, or if you are already here, go out in the cold and brave the masses. This year, the best part was probably the projections on the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) called “Mechanised Light Assemblage” by Australian artist Rebecca Baumann who worked in collaboration with multidisciplinary French team Danny Rose. It had moments of Tron, and also a whole section that brought to vivid life Baumann’s own 2011 artwork “Automated Colour Field” which is in the collection of the MCA.

Light sculptures included “Affinity” (by amigo & amigo [Simone Chua & Renzo B. Larriviere] + S1T2 [Chris Panzetta & Naimul Khaled]) based on the synapses of the brain, which was very photogenic, “Jellyfish Chandelier” by Ample Projects at Chatswood which was beautifully proportioned in the space and fun too, “Space Folding” by Zena Kaye which you could enter with lights responding to real time flight data, and “The Dresses,” a simple idea beautifully executed by French artist Tae Gon Kim.

Affinity
Affinity

The Laser-Fountain Water Theatre light show at Darling Harbour (by Oracle-Liquid, Glenn Turner) was enchanting, using not just lights, but also smoke to create depth and mystery (very hard to capture on video but I tried). Other more abstract pieces were “Luminous Canopy” by Sydney light art partnership McDermott Baxter that changed colour and moved in the wind, and “Our House” an installation with lit rope that formed a cobweb, by Belgian artists Them Sculptures (Tom Dekyvere).

Luminous Canopy
Luminous Canopy

The projection on Customs House, “Enchanted Sydney” by Spinifex Group, was a little disappointing this year. Although good, it was obviously made to appeal to kids. It was great to see native Sydney jellyfish and Jacarandah trees, but having an owl in the tree was a little too Harry Potter for me. Chatswood light projection “Nautilus and the Sea” was likewise was for a younger audience, although it was nicely done. And the Opera House was lit with an animation by Universal Everything, which while interesting featured a lot of darkness, taking away from the beauty of the building.

More on Vivid which runs until 8 June.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish Chandelier
Space Folding
Space Folding
The Dresses
The Dresses
Our House
Our House

 

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

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