Back for its 6th iteration, White Night Melbourne is set to transform the city from 7.00pm on Saturday 17 February through installation, lighting, exhibitions, street performances, film, music, dance and interactive events and takes place in Melbourne’s streets and laneways, parklands, public spaces and cultural institutions. Australian Arts Review takes a look at eighteen activities worth checking out:
Engineers Lawn – Alexandra Gardens
Inspired by particle physics and the iconic geodesic dome work of Buckminster Fuller, the award-winning AVA reinterprets cosmic rays into a 360º projection on a hemisphere structure made of semi-transparent fabric. The result is an immersive experience of celestial discovery. AVA V2 comes to White Night Melbourne following its successful appearance at TEDxCERN 2016, where it appealed to art lovers, technology enthusiasts and scientists alike.
Manchester Lane, Melbourne
Artist Debra Goldsmith’s Chandeliers transforms a Melbourne laneway into a Versailles-inspired fantasy with an installation of six chandeliers made entirely from discarded PET soft drink bottles, wire and other found plastic items. The installation’s playful grandeur, created using common and ordinary materials, aims to fascinate, surprise and delight as the ordinary is turned into the extraordinary. By re-envisioning the value and possibility of the seemingly worthless, Chandeliers takes our disposable culture and repurposes it into a fantasy world where status is irrelevant and the power of imagination rules – and you’re invited to share the power of dreaming: where once chandeliers were considered symbols of decadence, power and wealth, here they are all about what can happen when we see things differently.
Five Angry Men – The Bells
The sound of bells tolling resides deeply within our collective consciousness. From as far back as the Bronze Age, bells would bring the surrounding community news – of celebration or mourning, of proclamation or warning. The ringer of the bells, the campanologist, was charged with this great responsibility. For White Night Melbourne, five modern-day campanologists will assemble a giant bell tower in which they will perform as the timekeepers of night, tolling every hour on the hour. The eight-metre high tower, featuring five huge ropes attached with a combination of bungee cords and specially designed audio switching systems, will act as a musical instrument in which the performers will alternate between precise choreography, intricate musical pieces and aerial chaos, showcasing extraordinary physical feats of endurance and discipline.
La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo
Using images from NASA to re-create the planets of our solar system, La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo is a large-scale visual representation of the galaxy. The word planet is ancient, with ties to history, science, mythology and religion. The planets were originally seen by many cultures as divine, with the earth representing humanity, being the centre of all that was known to us. La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo – in English: the earth at the centre of the universe – combines the planets with sounds and music from around the world for a multi-sensory experience for all who walk through it. And lookout for Calling Occupants – an eight-metre high inflatable, illuminated spaceman created by Artist Felipe Reynolds.
Le Bal des Luminéoles
Direct from Paris, the home of Nuit Blanche, Le Bal des Luminéoles are imaginary illuminated birds with graceful wings. As they dance in the wind, bringing a radiance and a poetic atmosphere to the air, they spread colours across the night sky. Puppeteering pilots and helium light kites combine in Le Bal des Luminéoles, forming an enchanting aerial ballet that will fascinate and exhilarate. As the luminéoles pirouette above brightly lit flowers on the ground (out of which the pilots grow), they create an immersive choreography of light and vision that invites spectators near and far to dream and delight.
Inspired by the graceful murmuration of birds flocking together, or schools of fish coalescing and moving simultaneously, Patrick Shearn’s signature Skynets are a constant reminder of nature moving around us. Specifically designed for Federation Square, it will be appearing for the first time in Australia, Liquid Sky is a 14,000 square foot (150 metre) holographic Skynet suspended to harness the wind and dance dramatically, as if hanging in midair. At one moment, the kinetic sculpture undulates upward echoing the sky and ambient elements above. Then, it lunges downward, pausing overhead to offer visitors a mesmerising and reflective experience under an intimate, silver ceiling.
Step into a world of giant cocoons, where only your touch will awaken their silent singing and broadcast their harmonies to the world. Metamorphosis is an installation landscape of giant, glowing, musical cocoons. Enter in, reach out and make contact to discover their unique sonic personalities. From realistic insect clicks, chirps and chatters to distorted sci-fi resonance, Metamorphosis is the meeting place of nature and technology. Inspired by the intricate wonders of the insect world, the cocoons of Metamorphosis are invisibly interconnected. As you explore, you may see a ripple of light pulse through many, or hear the whole field respond in harmony.
Melbourne Museum (7.00pm – midnight)
Smell the blooms and plumes of indigenous Victorian plants while watching projections in Melbourne Museum’s Milarri Garden. A stop at Milarri will also allow you to enjoy the collaborative sculpture titled Biamie, the Rainbow Serpent by Clive Atkinson, a Yorta artist, and Dominic Benhura, a Shona artist from Zimbabwe. Milarri means ‘outdoors’ in Boon Wurrung and Woi wurrung. Milarri Garden is planted with native flora significant to the Aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia.
Central Boulevard – Carlton Gardens
Prisoners and princesses and cute creatures are the stuff of fairy tales and this humorous and colourful installation takes this theme and runs with it! Featuring numerous giant inflatable toys and animals whose cute and friendly looks belie their real intent: they are the guards standing here at someone’s behest and like something out of a nightmare they are ready to turn nasty should anyone attempt to leave! Or could it be just the opposite? This group of disparate characters is on a rescue mission – a la Toy Story – working out a cunning plan to help a friend or colleague escape the fortress? Whichever it is, we will never know.
Golden Square Car Park – Lonsdale Street.
During White Night, a towering virtual dream of breathtaking figures and surreal landscapes will stand over Golden Square Car Park. PlusMinusZero weaves street art, video projections and augmented reality into a single visual narrative. Every hour, on the hour, video collages will be projected against one of Australia’s largest ever paste-up murals. By using the EyeJack app on your phone, you’ll bring the work to life, revealing its secret world.
Queen Victoria Gardens
Reclining Women (white) 2017 represents the female, a humanising factor within the theme of regeneration, reiterating that history falls within the inevitable cycle of birth and death, beginning with the individual and intertwining the past and present in the future. The mercurial, multi-faceted faces are those of artist Sonia Payes’ daughter, Ilana, an ongoing presence in Payes’ photography, and her representation of humanity and female strength. Payes’ sculptures are seen as semi-submerged forms, symbols of life both seeking protection through landfall and to adapt and evolve.
Little Bourke Street (between Elizabeth & Swanston Streets)
As you wander down Swanston street don’t be surprised to feel a little chill as you pass by Little Bourke Street. The White Night creative team have been hard at work transforming the street with snow machines, special effects lighting and snow crystal performers. Winter in Summer in Melbourne – what if?
The Man Who Cannot Sleep
Queen Victoria Gardens
A giant head sits on a street corner. He comes from the future and has woken up in the past, our present. He does not want to fall asleep again because he does not want to return to the devastated land of the future. Throughout the night he witnesses our revelry, us naive Lilliputians, and cannot believe his eyes. A spectacular surrealist performance combining puppetry and projection, The Man Who Cannot Sleep is a gargantuan emissary from the world of dreams, dreams that manifest to reveal a hidden reality, an ode to a civilisation on the verge of collapse.
The Secret Life of Books
La Trobe Reading Room – State Library Victoria
After the crowds leave and the last light is extinguished, what happens inside the State Library? Thousands of books sit quietly, side by side, on hundreds of shelves. Their covers are closed, millions of pages pressed tightly together, waiting to be opened so they can share their stories the next day – or are they… ?
The Secret Life of Buildings
Flinders Street East, Melbourne
What if buildings had memories? What if they absorbed emotions? What if energy, time and place was retained in their walls and façades? The Electric Canvas and DAE White Night will collaborate to create a series of video mapped projected images based on this proposition. The iconic buildings will come to life and reveal their secrets, their past and their future as we explore their secret lives.
The Serpent Mother
Melbourne Museum Plaza
Fresh from Burning Man, this metallic reptile is both art installation and performance combined. Flames and mechanical automation combine to create a breathtaking Dionysian world of magic and chaos! The Serpent Mother is a highly charismatic, kinetic sculpture, beloved by all who encounter her. Her skeletal spine of 92 vertebrae extends over 50 metres, ending coiled around her egg. Her arching spine and 41 participant-activated flame effects create a space like no other, while her participant-controlled head and jaws chomp at the sky.
They Cannot Take The Sky: Stories from Detention
Facade – NGV International
The work will feature selected films from the award-winning Immigration Museum exhibition They Cannot Take The Sky: Stories from Detention, which will be projected in massive scale onto the National Gallery of Victoria façade, accompanied by thousands of floating LED lights in the NGV moat. It seeks to change the conversation around asylum seekers and detention, by creating a space for individuals to share their own true stories, in their own words. The work will be emotionally challenging, but also engaging and inspiring, and puts a human face to the issue that fixates our society.
South Facade – Royal Exhibition Building
What if the building could transform? What if the architecture came to life? What if the past returned to the present? What if the building was a conductor, or a passage to another dimension? Created especially for White Night 2018 by Limelight Projection Mapping, and based on the event’s creative theme – what if? – this year’s 3D video mapped projection on the Royal Exhibition Building façade promises all the grandeur, spectacle and WOW moments you’ve come to expect. This year, for the first time, a full 3D model of the façade has been built!
White Night Melbourne runs from 7.00pm Saturday 17 February to 7.00am Sunday 18 February 2017. For more information, visit: www.whitenightmelbourne.com.au for details.
Image: La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo – courtesy of White Night Melbourne