“White Night Melbourne is the city as you know it, turned on its head in a dusk ’til dawn celebration of culture and creativity. A night where the surreal seems real, White Night Melbourne is a rare opportunity to experience the city in a different light.”
Four years since the inaugural White Night Melbourne, I’m still very much in love with this festival. For one night, the buildings are a kaleidoscope of illuminated colour. There are buskers on every corner and a myriad of artworks/projections on display. The crowd throngs; sauntering and oft-times dancing down Swanston Street. There is so much laughter and singing; even on the train ride home. For me, it’s almost the perfect time to get lost in the vibrant streets and laneways of Melbourne.
This year, I decided to start in Carlton because in previous years I’d never managed to venture further north than the State Library. And I’m super happy I did, because the façade of the Royal Exhibition Building looked stunning. Pitcha Makin Fellas and OCUBO told the “story of the six Aboriginal seasons… showcasing a deadly sense of humour steeped in creativity, collaboration, culture and mateship”.
Situated between the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum, Circus Circus hosted “gravity defying acrobatics, heart-stopping aerials and breathtaking feats of physicality, strength and daring”. As I was waiting here to meet friends, I got to watch a few of the performances.
Inside the Melbourne Museum, we wandered around the award-winning First Peoples exhibition – about Victoria’s Koorie people – before venturing outside to see Wominjeka: Blak Nite. The beautiful Milarri Garden was transformed by spectacular projections, accompanied by live music. It was haunting and wonderful.
Next we wandered down to the Melbourne City Baths – again, this was a place I wanted to see as I’ve missed it in previous years, and I used to go swimming here all the time when I worked in the city. While waiting in the queue, we enjoyed Kaleidodreams. Burlesque artist Sina King and multi-faceted artist Jake Stollery “combine sensual silhouettes with dynamic animation and an ever-changing palette of fashion textiles to create a stylish suite of graphic projections” on the wall of a building adjacent to the City Baths.
Inside the Melbourne City Baths, “in a murky act of creative subversion”, we watched a combination of 3D animation and projections bring to life “mythical and magical” aquatic life forms. Incubator by Craig Walsh was very cool… and if it wasn’t for the crowd control personnel telling us to keep moving, I could have watched this ‘sea monster’ gliding through the water for hours.
We saw several buskers, including this ‘drummer’, who worked his magic on pots, pans and other accessories. He was sensational, drumming at a breakneck speed and not taking a break for the 10 to 15 minutes that we were there. I was very impressed!
This year, White Night Melbourne moved the spotlight from the Flinders Street façades to the contemporary architecture of Federation Square – and acclaimed Indigenous artist Reko Rennie teamed with The Electric Canvas to illuminate the buildings.
Although it was getting on to 2.00 am, I wasn’t tired. Time always seems to fly on this very spectacular night. I stood momentarily on Princes Bridge, enjoying the view of the crowds milling in Southbank and watching the lights of the buildings reflect on the Yarra River.
Sometimes I really love this city.