As winter descends upon Melbourne, The Light in Winter will warm the heart of the city with a free, three week program of art, music and performance at Federation Square. Under the artistic direction of arts luminary Robyn Archer AO, Melbourne’s winter tradition opens with the world premiere unveiling of renowned UK artist, Chris Levine’s impressive laser installation, Molecule of Light.
This year’s program, which coincides with The International Year of Light, brings together local and international artists to celebrate both modern light forms and oldest sources of human created light in a series of free events, exhibitions, film screenings, performances and exhibitions culminating in the much loved cultural merriment of the Solstice Celebration.
Commissioned and produced by Fed Square, Chris Levine’s Molecule of Light promises to be a transformative visual sensation. From eight metres above ground, lasers will converge upon a central acrylic sphere from three different angles. The resultant light forms will burst into a series of shapes and colours that will radiate out across The Square.
Chris Levine is a pioneer in the field of light art and his talents reach across multiple platforms including music, performance, installation, fashion and design. As well as having worked with Massive Attack on their monumental Glastonbury performance in 2008, he has collaborated with Philip Treacy, Grace Jones and Kate Moss, has exhibited at MoMA NYC and Saatchi Gallery London amongst others, and his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was hailed by the National Portrait Gallery as the most evocative image of a royal by any artist.
Whilst Levine works with a modern concentrated light form, Leempeeyt Weeyn’ celebrates the oldest form of human created light. Vicki Couzens created the campfire, Leempeeyt Weeyn’ for the inaugural The Light in Winter program nine years ago and it has burned brightly each year since. From 15-21 June, the campfire will burn 24 hours a day as it hosts a week of fireside performances and activations from DJ Nurra (James Henry), Rob Bundle, Uncle Larry Walsh, Muma Doesa and Benny Walker amongst others.
Inhabiting the Fracture Gallery in a highly creative exploration of how plants use light, is the mesmerising, iridescent 3D installation, Luminous Intervention by Melbourne’s Skunk Control. Skunk Control, a collective of art and science engineers from Victoria University, explore refraction, reflection, lenses, prisms, ray tracing and fluorescence through robotic sculptures. On the evening of the Solstice Celebration, the sculptures will be transplanted to the Square.
A dynamically linked sensory experience of sound, movement and light takes place within a giant knitted egg in Lala Lullaby. This interactive installation, by Pippa Willison and Richard Allen, is driven by the swinging motion of the egg producing a multilayered, synthesized, quadraphonic soundscape and light display. It is presented with sonic interventions from the Amplified Elephants and prepared piano sonic art from James Hullick.
The 2015 program continues its rich cultural pathways with the third and final year of Square of Light. The screen based works by James Arneman showcase the many diverse communities involved in The Light in Winter through digital, language-based and transitory media. As part of this project, artist Beth Sometimes has created PERSONWATCH, where partakers step through a giant set of headphones to take a self-guided audio tour exploring the favourite pastime of people watching.
Intellectual enlightenment can be found across three, free, themed forums. In Light on our Darkness, Deakin University’s Maryanne Vagg, Dr Ann Vickery and Dr Antonia Pont showcase poetry in all its forms, from lyrical to spoken word and slam. In the world premiere screening of Listen to Me: Voices of Pacific Children with Disability, award winning documentary filmmaker, Kasimir Burgess throws much needed light on the needs of children with disability in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Expert insight into 21st Century man-made light, and the impact it is having from everyday home environments to empowering refugee women and children is the topic of The Light Revolution.
In addition to the Molecule of Light and Luminous Intervention exhibitions, Kirra Galleries hosts a spectacular showcase of internally-lit glass art from Australian and New Zealand artists, NGV Australia presents The Kaleidoscopic Turn, a collection of works by artists exploring colour, light, sound, movement and space and ACMI presents a season of films by the cinematic master of Light, Ingmar Bergman.
The much-loved Solstice Celebration is celebrated on Saturday 20th June, the Saturday closest to the Winter Solstice, in a sensorial delight of music, performance and food that gathers many of Melbourne’s culturally diverse groups together to rejoice in the slow journey towards spring.
The evening includes performances from the members of Square of Light and the artists of Leempeeyt Weeyn’. A techno gothic sound and light installation by James Hullick and Jolt Arts called The Nightfall Recurring will take up residence in Flinders St Amphitheatre for the evening whilst The North Eastern Melbourne Chinese Association champion ping pong team will be challenging all comers to a lightning fast game of ping pong under black UV light in the Yarra Gallery Forecourt. The complete Solstice Celebration program will be revealed shortly.
Now in its ninth year, The Light in Winter continues to foster artistic and community collaborations and provides midwinter Melbourne with both a dynamic platform for the arts of illumination and a space for moments of reflection and enlightenment.