Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vivid 2012

Two years ago I blogged about Vivid – the annual light festival here in Sydney (http://phillipdavid.blogspot.com.au/2010/06/let-there-be-light.html).  I thought Vivid was just a few buildings with pretty lights on them, but I have to admit now that I was wrong.  Of course, seeing the Sydney Opera House lit up with different colours was pretty neat, but I did not realize at the time that Vivid is so much more than that.  So, I am writing this entry now to make up for the lack of due respect that I may have given to Vivid in 2010.

The festival is about light, music, and ideas.  Aside from the super cool light projections on the walls of famous Sydney landmarks, the festival features dozens of other light installations, this year displayed all around Circular Quay, The Rocks, and Walsh Bay.  For music, there is a big selection of both local and international artists, including big name Florence + The Machine.  Last but certainly not least:  ideas.  This year’s festival features “public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers.”  Where the hell was my invite???

The ideas part features a long list of talks and debates on a whole range of creative issues.  Of course, I am not all that creative aside maybe from this blog, so I won’t be attending any of these events.  But in reading some of the descriptions, I was a bit amazed that these things exist and that people are actually talking about them.  Some of the topics:  Would a national design policy help Australian designers?  How can Etsy help local creative business owners?  Can you make a meaningful living on music?  Other events focused on the future of publishing (is there one?), how to find funding (put on by the Australian Council for the Arts), and how to access creative spaces.  If that wasn’t all, there was also a showcase for Australian game designers, speed networking (just like speed dating!), and a seminar on what it takes to become a YouTube superstar.  And this is just a small sample from the schedule.  Fantastic!

Now, I can’t take photos of music or ideas, but I did make sure that I explored a bit more thoroughly this year and got some good snaps of the amazing installations and projections.   There were simple installations, such as this giant game of Tic Tac Toe:

And this display which looks like wildly coloured plants:

Bicycle taxis were gussied up like fluorescent fish:

And there was the world’s largest torch (flashlight), certified by the Guinness Book of World Records:

Projections ranged from high up on skyscrapers:

To down low in the water:

But the best ones were in between.  The Museum of Contemporary Art had some thumping music with lighting to match:

And I got the chance to nerd out as the Australian Bureau of Statistics published census data on the side of a building:

They even had interactive stations where you could input your data to see how you compare to other Australians in your post code, state, and nationwide.  I love the opportunity to have a good nerd session!

The iconic Sydney Opera House was most certainly not left out of the mix this year.  Rather than opt for colours like last year, this year’s projection was a bit colourless, but way more unique and out there.  It looks like she’s doing yoga.  Holy crap.

Finally, while the Sydney Opera House definitely won for the unique factor, it was the projection onto Customs House which was the most impressive.  The several minutes long projection depicted a day in the life of a city, including morning traffic and lunch time hustle and bustle.

What’s even more impressive is that the artists integrated the projection with the facade of the historic building, so projections of building faces were actually projected onto sides of the building.  Take a closer look:

Simply amazing.

The artists and creative thinkers who make this stuff happen are truly genius, and I am very jealous.

But can they eat a kilogram burrito?

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