Thursday, 20 October 2011

Melbourne's Angels & Demons

We're in the last week of the Melbourne Festival, the city's annual big-budget celebration of the arts. Coming hot on the heels of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, it showcases impressive and challenging productions from around the world, as well as locally produced shows of distinction.


Beyond the usual formal venues, the festival usually has one or two outdoor fixtures which grab the populace's attention for the run of the event. This year the standout example is Angels-Demons Parade from Russia. This consists of several bizarre and enormous glossy black statues, which appear to represent babies with the wings and tails of reptilian demons.


Though they may look like diabolical half-breeds, the angel-demon babies appear to be innocents, with playful expressions and postures. They're disturbingly interesting, prompting me to reflect that what we assume to be good or evil, may simply be "other".


I took these photos at night, walking southward from the Melbourne Town Hall, stopping at City Square, St Paul's Cathedral and Federation Square, ending at the Arts Centre where three of the creatures are in residence.


Another less-publicised outdoor event of the festival is Cacophony: The Art of Conflict. It consists of a series of images projected across the external walls of the main Arts Centre building and Hamer Hall (the concert hall), viewed from the square between them.


The 12-minute performance is a lot of fun - the buildings come to life, interacting with each other via music and imagery. My favourite bit is when they carry out a little war, flinging virtual paint bombs at each other. The curved concrete surface of Hamer Hall even dons armour plating before rolling out its cannons...


Angels-Demons Parade and Cacophony: The Art of Conflict continue to Saturday 22 October. See the Melbourne Festival website for more details.