Vivid Sydney: Top 5 Light Experiences


With over 60 light attractions, it is safe to say there’s plenty to see and do at Vivid Sydney. Last week, I spent three jam-packed nights exploring Vivid Sydney. With so much on to see, it was hard to choose any favourites, but here are my top 5 Vivid Sydney light sights:


 1. Robotanic by thomas+sebastian (Thomas Martin and Sebastian Barkoczy)

I happily stumbled across ‘Robotanic’ on Martin Place while making my way down George Street; it immediately caught my eye. I was completely drawn in by its glowing organic sculptural forms. What makes this installation so amazing, is its interactive elements. Designed to replicate the experience of a botanical garden, each organically shaped node is connected to motion sensors that trigger light and sounds associated with nature. While you create your own light and sound show you almost forget you are in the middle of Sydney, and instead feel like you are in some mystical, Avatar-like forest. ‘Robotanic’ acts a reminder that we all need to take time away from the technology-driven society that we live in, to tune our sense to nature. Honestly, I could have played with these for hours!



thomas+sebastian, Robotanic, 2015. Image: Engage Arts.

 2. Streets Ahead by Reko Rennie and Beastman 

Projected onto a heritage-listed brewery facade ‘Streets Ahead’ should be on the top of your ‘to see’ list. Australian artists, Reko Rennie and Beastman (Brad Eastman) bring street art to life through ‘Streets Ahead’. Reko Rennie pays respect to his Indigenous heritage by combining the iconography of Indigenous culture with stylistic elements of graffiti. His bold statement, ‘Culture is not a lifestyle choice’ reminds us that culture is still very much an integral part of Indigenous identity today. Beastman’s distinctive style is immediately recognisable; his bold colours and geometric patterns are kaleidoscopic in his animated projection. In front of the building is a small courtyard with deck chairs so you can relax and enjoy the view—it actually makes for a great ‘chill-out’ spot to meet friends. I suggest taking a blanket or hot chocolate to keep you warm, because you won’t want to get out of those chairs!



Beastman, Streets Ahead (detail), 2015. Image: Engage Arts


3. Mechanised Colour Assemblage by Rebecca Baumann and Danny Rose

3D-projection mapping, ‘Mechanised Colour Assemblage’ transforms the Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCA) facades into a series of sound and colour spectacles. Developed by Australian artist Rebecca Baumann in collaboration with Paris-based art and design team Danny Rose, the installation immerses you in a synesthetic experience that sparks both your sense of vision and sound. ‘Mechanised Colour Assemblage’ continues Baumann’s interest in colour and its perceptual relationship with emotion. What I found most interesting about this piece is its play on the internal and external spaces around the MCA. Baumann’s colourful flip-clocks featured her work ‘Automated Colour Field’ (2011)—exhibited in MCA’s permanent display—become digitally animated, overtaking the whole building before merging into the next transfixing, colourful scene. ‘Mechanised Colour Assemblage’ also produces clever scenes in which it seems the structural elements of the building are moving, transforming the buildings façade into a fluctuating canvas. If you are looking for a unique keepsake from Vivid, you can get a light portrait—an image of your choice will be projected over your face so you become a Vivid light piece yourself— taken and printed for free at Canon HQ at the Foundation Hall of the MCA.





Rebecca Baumann and Danny Rose, Mechanised Colour Assemblage (detail), 2015. Image: Engage Arts.


4. Lighting the Sails by Universal Everything

‘Lighting the Sails’ doesn’t need much explanation—colourful animations projected on great façade of the Sydney Opera house, you can’t get much cooler than that! Created by multi-disciplinary design collective, Universal Everything—who have collaborated with the likes of Radiohead, Warp Records and the 2012 London Olympics—‘Light the Sails’ makes for a great photo opportunity. I positioned myself on the opposite side of Circular Quay to the Opera House (at the Museum of Contemporary Art) to take some snaps.


Universal Everything, Lighting the Sails, 2015. Image: Engage Arts.


5. ‘Affinity’ by amigo & amigo (Simone Chua and Renzo B. Larrivere) + S1T2 (Chris Panzetta and Naimul Khaled)

‘Affinity’ is a large-scale lighting installation that depicts the complexity and connectivity of the human brain. A web of interconnected orbs display sound and light when stimulated by touch, which the artists intended to represent the rapid-fire transmission of messages between neurons. With sound, touch and visual elements, ‘Affinity’ is another installation that stimulates your senses. As you touch each orb, trails of coloured light bounce between them—making for another great photo opportunity.



amigo & amigo and S1T2, Affinity, 2015. Image: Engage Arts.

If you have already been to Vivid, you will realise it’s just too difficult to pinpoint 5 light installations! So I have cheekily included just a few more suggestions to my Top 5. The ‘Vivid Laser-fountain Water Theatre’ at Darling Harbour is great for kids. It runs every half and hour, but I suggest trying to make it to the 6pm show to get a good seat—again, make sure you take your camera. Anyone who wants to enjoy Vivid while sipping cocktails, then the Vivid Lounge at The Star Casino’s Sky Terrance is for you. Relax and enjoy interactive digital games, with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and city skyline.

What took me by surprise was the vast amount of participatory art elements at Vivid Sydney. While there was certainly many impressive large-scale light projections onto Sydney’s iconic buildings—it was the smaller interactive installations that won me over and will make me jump on the plane next year to seek out the top 5 of 2016!


Vivid Sydney finishes on 8 June, so be sure to catch it! For more information check out

– Danielle



Oracle-Liquid (Glenn Turner), Vivid Laser-fountain Water Theatre, 2015. Image: Engage Arts. 

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