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Vividly Sydney

Sydney has always shone out, but the Brian Eno exhibition Luminous makes it an artistic reality. As part of the city of Syd's Vivid festival, the sometimes-musician/sometimes-artist is curating an exhibition that will see 77 million images projected over the icon-loaded harbour until June 14th. The light show combines with concerts from Ladytron, Battles and Lee Scratch Perry and other events to put the city centrestage. It makes for quite a spectacle as the Opera House blushes from hibiscus flower to camouflage - the use of khaki making the building anything but invisible.

Usually the building leaves a dirty big carbon bootprint. It sucks in the same amount of electricity as a town of 25,000 and uses enough cabling to run from Sydney to Canberra (Australia's token political capital) and back. To address the balance the Smart Light Walk is a tour around the harbour that aims to turn off more lights than it switches on. By wandering through 25 light installations, you can see alternative energy sources at work and low energy options as well as be part of the switch-off campaign to make Australia's unofficial capital more energy efficient.

The yin to the city's yang is the Gloom Festival, a sly protest at the spending of $7million on Vivid that will leave Sydneysider artists out of the spotlight. Promoting itself as a "Festival of Silence, Darkness and Lack of Resources", the anti-event was to include several people lying dead in the Opera House foyer with "artist" painted on their foreheads and showing up at the Museum of Contemporary Art dressed as a pachyderm to address the "elephant in the room" of funding cuts. Was? Yep, because today Gloom changed its tune when they were contacted by the Opera House asking them to get permits for their protests and only play dead in places that wouldn't inconvenience patrons. The website has since cancelled all its events. Perhaps the Opera House is twice shy after the last time the icon made a reluctant political statement.

Images courtesy of Mondayne via his Flickr, and Camouflage - Sydney Opera House photo by avlxyz. And thanks to Amber Carvan for the Gloom tip-off.


  1. Thanks for calling over to my blog. I added 'Followers' to my page, which I think was rather brave seeing only about one person a decade visits there.

    By the way, I enjoyed the article in Meanjin.

    I have a brother who’s been a comic/graphic novel fan all his life. Goes to comic conventions in the US occasionally. I guess you know there’s an exhibition of comic book art at the Melbourne Jewish Museum until 30 August. I think there’s material from Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
    That last scene in Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows stayed with me after I read it. I can never smell a barbecue without thinking of it.


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