1 June 2012

Vivid Sydney – hitting winter with colour and movement

If you are in Sydney at the moment let me persuade you to take a walk along Circular Quay and experience the very colourful and surprising adventure that is Vivid lights. 

Vivid lights are one of the Vivid Festival components and it’s delivered free and easy to access. The hugely popular Vivid lights are switched on every night of the festival from 6.00pm to midnight until June 11 in a free lighting display around The Rocks and Circular Quay, featuring 50 interactive and immersive light art sculptures, illuminated skyscrapers and large scale 3D mapping projections on the Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art and Customs House.

It’s estimated that 400,000 people will take a look, which is incredible given its only in its fourth year. I remember the first year when it lit up the short walk from St Mary’s Cathedral to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the technology delivered single slide like screens over the buildings. Now it’s all 3D projections and interactive experiences. A very Sydney kind of evening out!


I met friends at the outside bar on Customs House forecourt and over a glass of champers we planned our walk and took in the first of the major exhibits. The front of Customs House tells the story of a day in the life of a local Joe Average. These projections have come a long way and are now designed to use the features of the building to enhance the show and not just be its screen. It’s full of humour and very very cute.





We dragged ourselves away and headed towards First Fleet Park which is a kid’s delight. Artists, selected from all over the world, have created a giant digital game of Tic Tac Toe, and a modern spin on Hopscotch. There are golden flocking birds and head turning digital puppies. Follow your dreams with the luminous wings or just have a good old fashioned shout at the installation Screaming Rapture.

At the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) you experience almost more colour than is safe for one’s eyes.  As you wave your hands in the air they can rearrange will.i.am’s of the Black Eyed Peas fame, loops and samples, controlling the tone and appreciation. Justene Williams’ created objects also ‘shape’ the music; the music in turn shapes the art, creating a completely unique and ever evolving interactive work. You might have to queue for a while to take a turn but it’s so worth it.




Great hot dogs can be bought outside of Cargo Bar and is the perfect spot to take in the projection on the Sydney Opera House. Cutting edge German projection artists, URBANSCREEN, have been invited to weave their creative magic in this festival masterpiece ‘Lighting the Sails’. A young dancer stretches and turns as if warming up to hit the stage inside. It becomes so melded its tricky to tell the real tiles to those of the 3D projection. It’s kind of tasteful and befitting for this famous performing space.

Make sure you walk down to see the smaller but intimate light sculptures around Campbells Cove where we discovered a projection of a guy trying to escape the harbour’s cold dark water – it’s very cool indeed.

Making our way back it was evident the crowds had swollen and grown – well its little wonder as word of mouth spreads on how brilliant an outing this is – but still worth you taking a look for yourselves.

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