Vivid Sydney becomes a massive, creative canvas

Lighting of the Sails at Vivid Sydney by Audio Creatures - photo by James HoranVivid Sydney has bathed the New South Wales Capital in breathtaking colour and a dizzying array of special effects as the world’s largest festival of light, music, and ideas switches on for the next 23 nights. Featuring seven light precincts and more than 90 large scale light installations and projections, Vivid Sydney will run bigger, bolder, and brighter until 17 June.

“Over the next 23 days, visitors can take their pick of hundreds of events, including more than 284 Vivid Ideas discussions and creative forums in 59 venues, that will explore our creative future, or more than 390 Vivid Music performances in more than 40 venues, featuring a range of genres from indie folk and electronic music to musical theatre and jazz,” said Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney Sandra Chipchase.

More than 180 local and international artists have created the light installations and projections for Vivid Sydney, including The Rocks, Campbell’s Cove, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Taronga Zoo, Martin Place, Darling Harbour and festival debutante, Barangaroo (South).

Projections will illuminate iconic buildings and landmarks throughout the city including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia as well as the organic backdrops of enormous trees and natural rockscapes in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. The ultimate canvas, the Sails of the Sydney Opera House will feature Audio Creatures, an indescribable world of colour and light, featuring imaginary sea creatures lurking deep in the harbour and shimmering plant life.

Special effects and animations are found at every turn, from the ground below visitors’ feet at Barangaroo (South), to Darling Harbour’s Magicians of the Mist, a 50 metre high water fountain featuring 40 metre high projections, lasers, fireworks, flame and a dramatic soundtrack. North of the harbour, a steampunk waterworld themed adventure awaits in Chatswood, while giant illuminated lanterns of endangered animals are sparking conversations about conservation at Taronga Zoo.

Highlights of the 2017 Festival include:

Lighting the Sails: Audio Creatures: The Sails of the World-Heritage listed Sydney Opera House will be brought to life by Audio Creatures: a series of imaginary creatures curated and designed by visionary director Ash Bolland. Audio Creatures will feature morphing and mesmeric marine creatures and plant life, cut with sleek futuristic technology across the iconic Sails. Audio Creatures will be set to a bespoke soundtrack by Brazilian electronic producer Amon Tobin.

Organic Vibrations: Australian contemporary artist Julia Gorman and French collective Danny Rose will create a new artwork projected onto the heritage-listed façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA). The installation will use projection-mapping techniques to bring to life images originally made by Gorman in watercolour, oils, and marker pen depicting sinuous lines and colours inspired by the natural world.

Magicians of the Mist: Fantastical fountains, flame jets, lasers, music, fireworks and walls of water show the power of creativity and innovation in this spectacular projection at Darling Harbour.

Trapdoor: Discover what optical illusions are in store if you dare to step onto this fantastical floor mural that tells otherworldly stories of Barangaroo.

Electric Forest: The forest comes to life as never before at The Royal Botanic Gardens. From wild hanging fruits to schools of fish, when you enter this strange world of illuminated plants, illusions and a psychoacoustic soundtrack.

Lights for the Wild: Shine a light on the plight of endangered animals at the Taronga Zoo with your interactive wristband and gaze in amazement at the beauty of these majestic, giant illuminated lanterns – you can even step into the mouth of PJ the Port Jackson Shark!

Steampunk Waterworld: Peer into an incredible submerged steampunk water world of lights, sounds and special effects at the Reflection Pool in The Concourse, Chatswood.

Curve Ball: Creatives, artists and musicians join forces to deliver this immersive, large scale, live music audio and visual spectacular combining quality dance music and stunning visuals at Carriageworks on Sunday 11 June.

Hidden Sydney – The Glittering Mile: The roller coaster ride into the story of Kings Cross and the colourful cast of characters from its gritty, glittery past.

Game-Changer Talks Series: Hear from the creative forces shaping our world and lives, including Buzzfeed founder, CEO and media visionary Jonah Peretti. (City Recital Hall – 28 May); influential Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone (City Recital Hall – 28 May) and iconic American artist Shepard Fairey (Sydney Town Hall – 17 June).

Fairey, the artist behind the Barack Obama HOPE campaign, will also create a public mural in the heart of Sydney’s CBD during the festival, while an exhibition of his music-themed works is on display at Darling Quarter.

“It’s all systems go as the city becomes a massive, creative canvas, with art and technology coming together to present awe-inspiring creations conjured by some of the world’s leading creative minds and technology innovators,” said NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall.

Vivid Sydney continues until 17 June 2017. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Lighting of the Sails at Vivid Sydney by Audio Creatures – photo by James Horan