White Night Melbourne cloaks the city with an artist’s palette for one night only; the drab buildings and lane-ways transformed into a strange otherworldly place. Imagination abounds. We experience astounding creativity, and a kaleidoscope of colour. We witness the downright bizarre, and I love it!
This year’s White Night Melbourne took place on a stiflingly hot summer’s day. I had this brilliant idea to go to the movies at the Kino (in downtown Melbourne) to stay out of the heat until about 9pm, by which time I was sure it would be cooler. But it was one of those balmy nights, with not much of a breeze, and I stepped out of the cinema into a hot and bedazzling world.
I wandered down Flinders Lane and happened upon the bizarre ‘Plasmatic No.1, Plasmatic No.2, Plasmatic No.3’ by Andy Buchanan.
“These animated sculptures move and mutate from one form to the next in a series of bodies, faces, objects and abstract interpolations. Ordinary attempts to perceive the nature of an object by observing edges, surfaces and recognisable features are confounded by the illogical liquidity of constant metamorphosis.”
Then I headed to Flinders Street, aka Wonderland to see the buildings decorated with stunning projections. In keeping with the name, this year’s theme was Alice in Wonderland. It was created by the Electric Canvas, with soundscape by Russell Goldsmith.
Next I strolled alongside the Yarra River (aka Sita’s Garden), which had been transformed into a Little India. There was a glowing lotus pond on the river and Bollywood performers on a barge (stage) that floated downstream.
I meandered down to Rod Laver Arena to meet up with a friend and we crossed the bridge; headed for the Alexandra and Queen Victoria Gardens, and the National Art Gallery. On route we happened upon this angel, which delighted my Supernatural-obsessed heart. The Neon Angel Wings installation allowed people to become part of the art and, for a brief moment, a chance to be angelic.
The highlight of this year’s event was KEYFRAMES at the National Art Gallery.
“Inspired by pioneering photographers of the nineteenth century, KEYFRAMES brings the technique of chronophotography to life with the help of new technological tools. Lights, sculpture, sound elements and 3D simulated kinetic animations are used to offer a paradoxical vision between discontinuity and the illusion of movement.”
I could’ve stood there for hours, mesmerized by the dancing lights and the hypnotic music. Instead we moved on, crossed the Swanston Street Bridge and slowly meandered our way north to the State Library (aka Rabbit Hole).
“In celebration of the sesquicentenary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, and referencing the State Library’s own ‘Alice’ collection, projection artist Nick Azidis transformed the exterior of the State Library of Victoria into the beginnings of [White Night Melbourne’s] Alice in Wonderland adventure.”
This year the crowds seemed less chaotic, and I think many people came in after midnight to avoid the busy 9pm–midnight period. It’s strange for me, because usually I avoid crowds. But this event has such a festive atmosphere that I don’t even mind the crowds. We happened upon some buskers in Bourke Street, beating on drums and chanting. The crowd formed a conga line and there was dancing in the street.
There is really something for everyone at White Night Melbourne. It’s colourful, creative and, at times, totally bizarre. But I suspect that’s why I love it so much.