White Night Melbourne festival brings art, music, performance and illuminations to the city streets. Time to light up…
BY SOPHIE DAVIES
Calling all night owls! White Night Melbourne takes over the CBD this Saturday 21 February from 7pm until 7am, bringing illuminating action to landmark buildings, laneways, galleries, cinemas and parks. With nine curated precincts and more than 90 free cultural events, the festival looks set to draw more than half a million people like moths to a flame, fluttering around projection and lighting works from dusk till dawn.
White Night (or Nuit Blanche) was born in Paris in 2002, before spreading to cities worldwide. 2015 marks the third Melbourne edition, attracting new works by local and international creatives. Popular hub Wonderland, along Flinders Street, will be lit up like Christmas, with crowds soaking up visuals by the Electric Canvas. For more must-sees in White Night's urban playground, check out our six Fizz precinct picks…
Video mapping projection will transform the exterior of Carlton’s Royal Exhibition Building, with Portuguese group Ocubo’s multimedia show ‘4 Elements’ turning the historic architecture into a giant canvas. Expect jaw-dropping visuals of earth, wind, fire and air teamed with music, dance, synchronised swimming and circus skills.
Music fans should make for the adjacent Melbourne Museum forecourt, where Music for a World Stage features a global line-up of live bands. At around 2.50am, indigenous Australian hip-hop artist Briggs, from rural Shepparton, will be taking to the stage. The talent behind 2014 album ‘Sheplife’, he’s supported Oz rappers The Hilltop Hoods and is signed to their label.
For ‘Rabbit Hole’, the façade of the heritage State Library will become a vibrant homage to Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Start your journey watching Nick Azidis's projections outside, before disappearing down the rabbit hole to ‘Eat Me’ within the Dome. A 360-degree projection by French artists Antoine+Manuel, it’s matched with an electo-pop soundtrack by Melbourne musician Sui Zhen.
Public dance marathon ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ will be going gangbusters on the corner of Lonsdale and Elizabeth Streets. All night.
Nearby in Queen Victoria Gardens, immersive installation ‘Circles of Light’ encourages you to interact with an electronic herbarium of plant life, touching sensory leaves to play music or light up the glade. Created by the Design Circle, it’s in the Janet Lady Clarke Rotunda. Giant, multicoloured ‘Neon Angel Wings’, by Carla O’Brien, will also be suspended in this idyllic Eden, ideal for posing for saintly photos. You’ll also find kinetic sound sculpture ‘Chorus’ here, a series of giant metal tripods by British sonic artist Ray Lee, emitting coordinated notes.
More tunes await at the nearby Indie Music Stage, at Alexandra Gardens on the Southbank, where Melbourne bands will be strutting their stuff.
Fancy some chemical romance? In performance work ‘Presage 2014’, Paris-based Moroccan artist Hicham Berrada and musician Laurent Durupt will create hypnotising chemical reactions in the NGV International’s Great Hall. The live ‘chemical theatre’ of Berrada's experiments, concocted in small beakers, will be projected on huge screens, producing colourful, dynamic effects, accompanied by Durupt’s soundscapes captured with an underwater microphone.
Also look out for ‘Keyframes’, by Groupe LAPS (France), animating the façade of the NGV International with luminous skeleton figures in motion. Melbourne audio-visual light artists Kit Webster and Dave Leigh’s projection ‘Infinite Curve’ brings beams of colour and cosmic lighting to the gallery’s garden, with a large-scale work mimicking an interstellar nebula system. DJ tunes, a pop-up bar and Huxtaburgers ensure much fun is had by all.
Peckish? ‘Sita’s Garden’, beside the Yarra River, will transform the Birrarung Marr into Little India, with tasty street food, Bollywood movies, dance, music and a pond of glowing lanterns.
White Night Melbourne runs from 7pm Saturday 21 to 7am Sunday 22 February 2015. See the website for a full programme, map, itineraries and public transport options.