Now in its eighth year, Federation Square’s annual winter program The Light in Winter will bring together local and international artists for a nightly program of free events, performances and exhibitions, culminating in the Solstice Celebration on the true winter solstice, Saturday 21 June.
Directed by arts luminary Robyn Archer AO, the three-week program will illuminate Federation Square after dusk with the world premiere of Radiant Lines – an interactive, illuminated, large-scale, sculptural shrine from UK architect Asif Khan (London Olympics + Sochi Winter Olympics), in his first Australian commission.
“In 2014, arising from the many conversations which take place in preparation for this event, the theme of cycles and circles of life arose,” says Archer.
“It clearly connects to Asif’s new work. That led to the notion of shrines, and the role that shrines play in the city, in community and in individual moments of memorialisation and remembrance.”
“It’s befitting that Federation Square – given its proximity to the Shrine of Remembrance, the spires of St Pauls and the Arts Centre and the shrine to sport that is the MCG – will host an array of illuminated shrines this year, including an opportunity for everyone to enter a custom-built video booth to design their own.”
Co-commissioned by City of Melbourne through the Arts Participation Program, Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Melbourne-based media artists, Cake Industries have collaborated to create Anachron – three illuminated moving sculptures combining electromechanical mastery and kinetic technology.
The tradition of the Indigenous campfire Leempeeyt Weeyn’, which burns continuously throughout The Light in Winter, returns to the Square. Designed by Vicki Couzens and programmed by Rob Bundle, it extends a welcome from the traditional owners and creates the hub for a rich program of fireside events.
For the first time in the program’s history, the much-loved tradition of the Solstice Celebration coincides with the program finale and the date of the true winter solstice, 21 June. The free, mid-winter celebration marks the longest night of the year and the new journey toward spring.
Celebrating diversity and harmony, the Solstice Celebration will feature an array of performers including Cambodia Space Project, New Dub City, Black Orchid String Band and the Gift of Light Orchestra. Collaborative dance performances will crescendo throughout the evening with Federation of Bhangra, Groove Dance and Burmese, Chinese and Mexican artistic groups.
Additional program highlights will include Remembering in Melbourne: Monuments, Memorials and Shrines; a forum that explores the many commemorative sites in Melbourne and new ways of memorialising our various histories; and in a Melbourne-first, a rehearsed reading of Tim Winton’s harrowing and absorbing new play Shrine – performed by students from Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts.
Other events taking place every night from dusk are a series of short films on shrines, creative interpretations of shrines from The Light in Winter’s community of artistic and cultural groups; an evening dedicated to Melbourne’s young artists with dedications to BMX bikes, hip hop music and even bejeweling of their “pocket shrines” (their mobile phones).
An exhibition of the inaugural Kirra Illuminating Glass Award; an audio-visual shrine to the analogue television; a program of campfire activities; a maze of handmade timber boxes containing unique landscapes created by children at ArtPlay; and a custom-built video booth for visitors to record what or who they would dedicate a shrine.
“The Light in Winter has had seven remarkable incarnations and the eighth is similarly special. Melbourne’s winter behaviour has clearly changed as we now see so many people visiting Fed Square and enjoying the program from dusk into the evening. This celebration of light and enlightenment really has made a difference to Melbourne.” Robyn concluded.
The Light in Winter
Federation Square, corner Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne
Festival continues to 21 June 2014
For more information and full program, visit: www.fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter for details.
Image: courtesy of Federation Square