Friday 27 February 2015

Melbourne on a White Night 2015 (Part 1)

White Night was an instant success in Melbourne. In its first year, 2013, it attracted over 300,000 participants to art exhibits spread across the city centre from 7pm to 7am.

I missed its second staging in 2014 because I was in Hawaii. That time it attracted over 500,000 people, and it was a a very crowded experience from all accounts.

This year the event, held from 7pm to 7am on 21-22 February, was different. Still a huge attendance, pushing half a million, but spread out over a much wider area and with people attending later if they could. The buzz was noticeably lower, but it was easier to get around.

Narrelle Harris and I set out about 7pm this year, crossing the Yarra River to attend a ghost tour through the Arts Centre. Whether you believed the ghost stories or not, it was great to see the backstage areas and stand on the vast stage of the State Theatre:

The ghostly theme continued next door at Hamer Hall where we witnessed Ghostly Machines, a human-free sound and light piece performed by the concert hall's lighting and sound array:

Next we headed to NGV International. The big highlight here was Keyframes, a collection of neon tube figures in the moat which lit on and off in time with music. Here's a short clip I filmed:

Inside the gallery there were two pieces.The one in the Great Hall was a science experiment which produced projections and sound, and in the adjoining garden was this colourful laser light show:

Across St Kilda Road, beneath the equestrian statue of King Edward VII, we found this illuminated set of angel wings in front of which people posed. I suspect this kid had in mind the sinister Weeping Angels of Doctor Who:

From the riverbank we could hear Bollywood music floating across the water from this floating barge, near glowing flowers on the water:

By the time we'd bought some supper from a food truck in Alexandra Gardens, it was nearing midnight. Time to cross the river, brave the Federation Square crowds and see what the north of the White Night zone had to offer...

Next: Wonderland! And light in motion across a World Heritage building...

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