Painting With Light: Vivid Sydney 2014

Vivid Sydney 2014 kicked off this week; bringing back Sydney’s interactive discovery of light, music and ideas as the 18 day festival transforms Australia’s most popular city into wonderland of 'light art' sculptures, innovative installations and grand-scale projections for all to enjoy.

The incredible spectacle is a magical celebration of light-design excellence and the world’s largest outdoor ‘art-gallery’. The festival features many of the world’s most important creative industry forums, a mesmerizing free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations, a cutting-edge contemporary music program and the spectacular illumination of Sydney’s iconic architecture including the sails of Sydney Opera House. Vivid Sydney is where art, technology and commerce intersect.

The Lighting of the Sails is perhaps the most extravagant display of Vivid Sydney’s light happenings. This year, Vivid Sydney commissioned award-winning international artists 59 Productions to create a new projected artwork for the sails of the Sydney Opera House. 59 Productions will take the iconic building on a dramatic journey through time – from the birth of architecture and civilization through to the pinnacle of human and technological achievement. During the festival the Sydney Opera House will offer an exciting range of entertainment and experiences, including VIVID-inspired menus, late-night live music, winter’s best pop-up bar and cafe scene, as well as bespoke guided tours.

Another exciting light exhibitions include the Urban Tree Project created by Nicholas Tory, Lucy Keeler, Martin Crouch, Julian Reinhold and Iain Greenhaigh. The installation is an architecturally mapped digital projection, transforming the MLC building into a magnificent living tree within a dense urban environment. The installation explores themes and questions relating to urban lifestyles, the impact of high-density living on the natural environment, and our very human need for green space. Before your very eyes, a colossal tree seeds, sprouts, and rapidly spreads – until the entire MLC building has been colonised by its twisting branches.

Also on display is John Wright's Sea of People; a major light installation of 22 perspex figures sited on the harbour foreshore at Kirribilli. Sea of People invites visitors to the site to wander through and around the life size figures of varying scale and proportions.

The Buchan Group, Anthony Rawson, Patrick Shirley, Gary Edmonds, Daniel Thomas  and Lincoln Savage all came together to create e|MERGEnce. e|MERGEnce is the figure made real in the form of a huge, faceted head rising out of the solid pavement. During the day the sculpture is a study in the reduction and abstraction of the human form to basic, albeit distorted, geometry. But when the sun sets and the Vivid Sydney lights turn on, e|MERGEnce transforms into an innovative, interactive light sculpture that plays on themes of scale, personality and image to invite you to see yourself as never before. Using interactive video-capture technology, e|MERGEnce allows you to embody the physical sculpture as you see live video captures of your face mapped to a giant head – like experiencing a carnival mirror in the form of sculpture and light.

Vivid Sydney is a fantastical display of not only light and music, but  also community. Every year, Sydney locals show up to the various shows to experience and interact with their town in an entirely new way.

Photography by Jewelszee