Painting the city with light: Vivid Sydney 2012

Sydney Writers’ Festival 2012

Hot on the heels of the bookish buzzy Sydney Writers’ Festival 2012 at Walsh Bay comes Vivid Sydney 2012, which opened last Friday 25 May on a clear crisp autumn night around the corner in Circular Quay. I seem to be having a mini love affair with Sydney this year – and it was looking particularly beautiful at Circular Quay last Friday night under a new moon.

Vivid Sydney 2012

My favourite projection lit the facades of the buildings around Circular Quay Station and the station itself, and was inspired by the six-season calendar of the First Nation peoples of the Sydney basin. It was made by 32 Hundred Lighting and video artist Mic Gruchy, with the support of botanist and environmental scientist Dr Francis Bodkin, who’s a climate expert and author of D’harawal Seasons and Climatic Cycles.

Sentinels of the Season

Called Sentinels of the Season, it flooded the buildings in colours associated with the six seasons:

  • Time of Burrugin (May June) cold frosty short days
  • Time of Wiritjiribin (July August) cold and windy
  • Time of Ngoonungi (September October) cool getting warmer
  • Time of Parra’dowee (November December) warm and wet
  • Time of Burran (January February) hot and dry
  • Time of Marrai’gang (March April) wet becoming cooler

The ever morphing projections on the Museum of Contemporary Art and the interactive work on its brand new Mordant Family Wing were also amazing.

The Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art

MCA Mordant Family Wing

In the midst of this frenzy of light and colour someone said the Vivid festival must cancel out Earth Hour. With its apparent burning of massive amounts of energy. But apparently Vivid is a ‘carbon neutral event‘, thanks to carbon offsets and low carbon lighting. And allegedly, by using minimal energy some of its installations and projections ‘encourage the public to think creatively about sustainable urban light solutions’.

Last but not least (well, maybe least this year), here’s the building I most look forward to seeing illuminated every year: the Opera House. Although on Vivid’s brilliant and crowded opening night I thought for once the Opera House was outshone.

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7 Responses to Painting the city with light: Vivid Sydney 2012

  1. Rowena Lennox says:

    Hi Jane, love your pics of the MCA, and the list of Sydney seasons! Ro

  2. We love your kind comments about our “Sentinels of th Seasons” project! Each of the seasons are heralded by distintive patterns of animal behaviour and the flowering of key plants which Mic Gruchy has portrayed on the screens. Unfortunately we had limited space on the light box for more info but have some more details on our website. In the next few days we are posting an Mp3 file with a storyteller telling beautilful tales of each season and how they governed behavior. Its great to think our work is appreciated. Thank you! Deborah

    • Thanks so much Deborah for adding to my very sketchy description of your beautiful piece. And thanks too for letting me know about the forthcoming Mp3 file with the stories of each season – will it be accessible via the link I’ve included for 32 Hundred Lighting? Or perhaps I’ll include a separate note about it and link above, because it sounds fascinating and important.
      There was so much going on around Circular Quay on Friday night, so much to see, but I kept being drawn back to your piece. It was mesmerising – and thrilling. Such startling colour.

  3. Oh wow thanks so much for letting me know, Deborah. I’ll look forward to checking them out (when my modem speeds up). They sound amazing. Might even require a new blog post. Shame about the weather this week for Vivid. cheers, Jane

  4. Pingback: Bookending 2012: From women’s writing to … Australia’s forgotten women writers | bookish girl

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