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What if there was a party, and everyone came? They’ll be dancing, dancing in the street!

Sydney May-June 2014 (11 photos). This is part 7 of my Vivid Sydney Series.

1.43 million people, according to official estimates, visited the 6th Vivid Light Festival of Sydney in 2014 over 18 nights. Approximately 19,500 international visitors came across on Vivid Sydney travel packages.

That is an increase of 79% compared to the estimated 800,000 visitors in 2013. Only 500,000 people visited in 2012. Before 2012, the event didn’t rate on my radar. Vivid Sydney is now the largest light festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. This year Vivid Sydney was made up of more than 200 events and 6 entertainment precincts. It featured 50 free light installations and projections, 80 Vivid Music shows, and 300 speakers at 180 creative industry events. Each night the lights operated from 6pm to midnight. Obviously I’ve shown you only a small portion of the total package.

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On the weekends, they closed several inner city roads to vehicles, including the main road, George Street which leads between Martin Place in the previous post and the main entertainment hub at the Rocks and Circular Quay. For some reason unknown to me, people feel the need to sit on closed roads and take selfies; at least they did it on a side road.

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After taking the walk along George Street, I took some time to stop and see most of the smaller and more intimate light installations and exhibits, some in full public view, others hidden away in courtyards, corridors, stairwells or even indoors. The free map came in very handy. Here’s a few of them:

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Heaven’s Cloth. The poet W.B. Yeats once described the universe’s vast skies as “the heavens’ embroidered cloths”. Taking its title from Yeats’ vision, Heaven’s Cloth creates a canopy of light, colour and sound – an awning of illuminated dreams. Contracted from translucent rings the light is refracted to sparkle above the visitor.

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Above & below: Terra Incognita presents several cycles of lighting sequences based on the glorious displays of light and colour that Mawson witnessed in Antarctica. A voice-over reads excerpts from Mawson’s diaries; sound effects evoke the harshness of this beautiful but forbidding landscape. By standing at designated spots in the space, you create shadows, highlight details and provide focal points for the shifting light displays.

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Made You Look is a kaleidoscope torn open. The reflective shell is made of 138 mirrored pieces, capable of 138 self-portraits at a time. Each shard is suspended in the air and a live video stream of the artwork’s surroundings is projected onto and through the artwork – watch yourself interacting with the installation as you walk through it.

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Mystery of Creation. Flowers blossom, only to wilt; trees wither, only to grow anew. The wind whispers in the tree; its leaves embody alchemy in the transformation of living colour, from green into yellow and red; leaves dance and drop off in a storm; and once again you see a bare tree.

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Graffiti Me is an interactive projection. Armed with the traditional tool of street art – the spray can – you become part of a collective street art mural image, as your likeness is captured in stencil-like form, and projected onto a wall. When you press the spray-can nozzle, a webcam is activated to take a picture of you; this captured image is then projected onto the wall surface, and every night, all webcam-photographed images are collated and turned into a time-lapse film that you can access via a website.

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I came across my old friend the Intel Robot again. As we were right at the night markets section, we both stopped for some dinner. I had a pulled pork and coleslaw roll. I offered him a battery.

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Magic Circle is a two-metre-square glowing version of the humble crochet granny square. The piece is crocheted by hand, using a large hook, 500m of cotton rope and 55m of LED rope light. The crocheted rope is entwined around the lights, masking the light source and forming internally illuminated coils. The coils glow and are linked decoratively together with more rope, using traditional crochet motifs. A magic circle is an important crochet beginner’s technique and forms the centre of the work. The core of the sculpture is left open as a viewing porthole.

Ultimately we end up at Circular Quay again. And here we stay. OK, you’ll have noticed the return of my black and white photography with this post. Yes, we’re near the end of this series. Two more to go.

My previous VIVID Festival of Sydney photography:

VIVID 2014: Random VIVIDness 2014 (6)

VIVID 2014: Random VIVIDness 2014 (5)

VIVID 2014: Random VIVIDness 2014 (4)

VIVID 2014: Random VIVIDness 2014 (3)

VIVID 2014: Random VIVIDness 2014 (2)

VIVID 2014: Random VIVIDness 2014 (1)

VIVID 2013: Lights. Camera. Action!

VIVID 2013: Random Scenes of VIVIDness

VIVID 2012: Light the Night

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera, Sony Etcetera

Random VIVIDness 2014 (7)


100 thoughts on “Random VIVIDness 2014 (7)

  1. Amazing how an event can take off so quickly. Next year that number will be bigger. I prefer these intimate exhibitions. The Graffiti Me and Mystery of Creation are so cool. Fantastic work, as always.

  2. I love this series, LD! So much creative energy! Thanks for sharing it with those of us,halfway around the world, who will never see it in person.

    • Thank you Mic. I suspect they plan these things 1 or 2 years in advance. A lot of artistic thought does go into the creation of the displays. Thanks for visiting Sydney with me.

  3. The series is coming to an end?? Say it isn’t so!! Fabulous captures and compositions. Especially love the black and white images and the kaleidoscope image. Awesome! I will have to have a talk with Mr. Intel. His head cam may have captured something. Maybe if I offer a battery and a solid state sandwich….hmmmm……

  4. I wonder what’s up with the self-projections. Sydneysiders must really like seeing their faces on display in public. It looks as if there was still room to walk the streets on the weekend during VIVID. The equivalent of VIVID in Melbourne would be White Night – light projections on city buildings from dusk to dawn. This year, the streets were so packed you could barely move. You were lucky, Dragon.

    • Bright lights are nice but interaction is the key to getting people interested and involved, so there were several installations that responded to face input, movement, speech, singing and touch. One even needed you to scream at it to get the lights changing.
      White night is only 12 hours so see it or miss it. Vivid goes for 18 nights, so more chance to look around leisurely.

  5. The first one has really translated the joyfulness of these two young couple. The photo of the Mystery of Creation tells stories of grow anew so beautifully. The Magic Circle is just stunning. Yay, your B/W photos are back 🙂
    Thank you so much for this great series of the Vivid Sydney festival, Dragon! Looking forward for more…

    • Thank you very much Amy. The artists put a lot of effort into their works and I’m happy to highlight what I can. There was an information panel at each installation and it added a lot to read it before seeing the display.
      There’s always a certain joy in seeing spontaneous dancing on the street, that can’t be replicated. Thanks for enjoying the journey with me. 🙂

  6. Your picture of George Street reminds me so much of a main road where I live, strange that, how a road thousands of miles away can look so similar! They also close that road and others when they have a Lord Mayors Show, which is a carnival really. People do sit on the road here too, probably because it’s an opportunity, the rest of the time it’s really dangerous, even crossing it, never mind the thought of sitting on it! I shall have to take notice if they take selfies – I bet they do. Facebook and Tumblr are very hungry for selfies – apparently! I usually ignore them, unless they are creative or exceptionally funny – it just encourages them to do more otherwise. 🙂

    And who is the hooded mystery man in the picture with the Intel Robot? Just noticed him out of the corner there!

    • I guess it’s so infrequent that they close roads to allow pedestrian traffic, as opposed to parades, that people want to sit down and say “I did it”.

      Assassin? Spy? or just cold? I don’t know who the hoodie is, but I darkened the shadows for dramatic effect. Thanks for noticing. 🙂

  7. Always always loved your B&Ws. I wouldn’t dare walk under the kaleidoscope, lol… I have phobia under glass. What if I die 138 times? Lol… Love the light installations and all the exhibits you have shown us thru your eyes in this event. It is truly remarkable!

    • You must have watched too many movies where the baddie gets killed by falling shards of glass. LOL.

      Thanks for visiting Sydney with me. Glad you’re enjoying the festival. 🙂

  8. to remain in him says:

    So interesting to read and nice shot too. Would be interesting to see that Creation installation in real:)

  9. I would have had dinner with the Intel Robot too, his colours are cool and at least he only feeds on a battery. I think I can afford that. Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos with very interesting captions. I enjoyed reading about each and every of them especially about the LED crochet. How inventive. I was never any good in science and lighting, but at least I enjoy what them scientists can accomplish. It’s so innovative! 

    • Thank you. A bit of background certainly helps to appreciate the talent of these inventors better. I’ll have to bring my laptop next time i see the Intel Robot – they should have a fair bit to talk about. 🙂

  10. LB says:

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series and have shared your links with a friend who was able to visit Sydney during the festival. You’ve really given us a wonderful glimpse into this magical festival. Thank you!

  11. I wish I had known about Heaven’s Cloth and Terra Incognita, they sound cool. But I am so anti-crowds, it all just seems like too much effort. I didn’t even see the crochet thing — which, by the way, is my favourite shot. It looks metallic, rather than light and cloth.

  12. Pingback: Random VIVIDness 2014 (8) | Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera

  13. the first one is superb, you’ve captured such a delightful moment of joy there 🙂 amazing atmosphere with all those people out in the street.. like on New Year’s eve 🙂 is the event over? love what you are showing here… they should be hiring you next year to be the official photographer for the Vivid event!! fantastic work…

    ps. listening to Clean Bandit “Rather be” right now… kinda reminded me of you… warm regards, Draco 🙂

    • Thanks. It was a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t want to be doing it professionally. Too much pressure. 🙂

      We’re a thousand miles from comfort … but red and coffee remind me. 🙂

  14. After seeing your series of posts of the Vivid Light Festival there will be a great increase of visitors next year. 🙂 Such a great festival, I’d love to see it. Wonderful photos Draco!

  15. Pingback: Random VIVIDness 2014 Finale | Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera

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