5 Days until Lights Off, Vivid Sydney


With just a week­end and a bit left of Vivid Syd­ney 2015, you’ll want to make sure you ven­ture out to see all of the lights. Not sure where to begin? Check out the only guide you’ll need for the fes­ti­val, or dis­cover my themed trails here. Whether you’re look­ing to DIY, play or travel through space, you’ll get a full help­ing of Vivid lights with these guides to the festival.

Beyond the Wharf Vivid Sydney Harbour Tour. Image by Hayley Wood

Also, tonight is the last night to get on one of Beyond the Wharf’s Vivid cruises around Syd­ney Har­bour. Rug up and jump aboard because you won’t get a bet­ter view of the fes­ti­val clas­sics than on the back upper deck of one of Sydney’s iconic yel­low and green fer­ries. Tick­ets here.

Happy Vivid­ing!

Swing Glow. Image by Hayley Wood

An Interstellar Expedition through Vivid Sydney

internal galaxy_quinn connors

Let Vivid blast you into hyper­space with these inter­stel­lar instal­la­tions as you shoot past the moon and stars, and into another galaxy far, far away.

A Light Year Ahead by Steensen Varm­ing, Australia

Cle­land Bond Build­ing, Play­fair St, The Rocks – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Vis­i­tors are blasted out of this world in this ‘space ele­va­tor’ sim­u­lat­ing an astro­nom­i­cal take off. Mov­ing galac­tic images, a mir­rored floor, and a ceil­ing and walls lit by pro­jec­tions set to a futur­is­tic sound­track trans­port space trav­ellers A Light Year Ahead on the ulti­mate space odyssey in just a mat­ter of sec­onds. 

Ayla by Steensen Varm­ing, Australia

Cir­cu­lar Quay West – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Cast­ing the essence of the moon through pro­jec­tion and a halo of light, Ayla demon­strates the sur­real beauty of twilight’s nat­ural light. Every night the sil­hou­ette changes as it moves in sync with the phases of the moon.

Internal Galaxy. Image by Hayley Wood

The Milky Laneway by Kate & Marty, Australia

Cam­bridge St, The Rocks — 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

The night sky moves closer to Earth in this laneway instal­la­tion of meteor show­ers, shoot­ing stars and super­nova. As you travel through the laneway, our solar sys­tem comes alive as galac­tic effects flow and swirl, stars align and red dwarfs and blue giants twin­kle. 

Inter­nal Galaxy by AJde­signCo. & Andrew Wil­son, New Zealand

Hick­son Road Reserve, The Rocks — 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

A six-meter ship­ping con­tainer has been trans­formed into a mind-bending uni­verse. Com­prised of hun­dreds of lights from floor to ceil­ing, this psy­che­delic galaxy bounces and reflects a mul­ti­tude of colours off mir­rored walls, as you’re pulled fur­ther and fur­ther into this por­tal to an alter­nate dimension.

Do It Yourself, Vivid Sydney

Paint the City. Image Courtesy of Destination NSW

Chan­nel your inner artist, light designer and sound mixer at these DIY light instal­la­tions scat­tered through­out the city.

Paint the Town by 32 Hun­dred Light­ing, Australia

Over­seas Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal, Cir­cu­lar Quay – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Express your cre­ativ­ity for all of Syd­ney to see and paint the sky­line in what­ever colours of your choos­ing. With a swipe and tap of a screen, you can illu­mi­nate some of Sydney’s most iconic build­ings and bask in the light of your own colour genius.

Threads by Res­o­nance, Australia

Cle­land Bond Build­ing, The Rocks – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Based on the Res­o­nance team’s ethos that ‘per­sonal con­nec­tions are impor­tant con­trib­u­tors to hap­pi­ness’, this light instal­la­tion beck­ons you to engage with oth­ers to pro­duce your own sound­track. Col­lab­o­rate with the per­son next to you to design a musi­cal mas­ter­piece of light out of inter­twined lines, shapes and par­ti­cles that sig­nify con­nec­tions and rela­tion­ships forged in life.

Paint the City. Image Courtesy of Destination NSW

Light­well by AIT, Australia

Between Piers 8/9 & 6/7, Hick­son Rd, Walsh Bay – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Uncover the gems hid­den within Light­well as you splash and scat­ter light-paint across brick walls at Walsh Bay. Sounds, ani­ma­tions, film sequences and more reveal them­selves among your designs the more you cre­ate with those around you.

Mis­sion Control

Pyr­mont Bay Park, Pyr­mont – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Put your skills in light and cre­ate your very own dis­play on the roof of The Star. Con­trol the dozens of search­lights atop the casino for a show to wow them all.

The Only Guide You Need for Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

The days may be get­ting shorter, but Sydney’s turn­ing the lights on to keep the city shin­ing bright dur­ing Vivid Syd­ney 2015.

The Vivid 2015 sea­son has begun here in Syd­ney, bring­ing its biggest pro­gram yet with an abun­dance of fes­ti­val firsts. Over the next 12 days, the fes­ti­val of light, music and ideas will splash the city in colour, spin a lively sound­track and spark the minds of Syd­neysiders and vis­i­tors alike. All will be ablaze with colour­ful light instal­la­tions and pro­jec­tions fea­tured across the city. See the glow­ing Opera House Sails, mor­ph­ing MCA façade, the lumi­nes­cent water the­atre in Dar­ling Har­bour and even the boats that dot the waters sur­round­ing Syd­ney Town. While Syd­ney is illu­mi­nated, its res­i­dents and vis­i­tors will be enlight­ened. The festival’s Vivid LIVE brings a mas­sive pro­gram of con­tem­po­rary music for its sev­enth year in a row, while Vivid Ideas hosts a slew of sem­i­nars to dis­cuss inno­va­tion, chal­lenge think­ing and bring new ideas to the table. And though the fes­ti­val has already begun, there is still a ton on offer to see, hear and do.

Only have a day to dis­cover Vivid Syd­ney 2015? Here’s your one night guide of places and events to hit while you paint the town red (and yel­low and green and brown and scar­let and black and ocher and peach and…)

Vivid Sydney 2015 at Central Park


Sydney’s new ‘urban vil­lage’, Cen­tral Park makes its Vivid debut this year as street art comes to life, mar­kets light up the night and inter­ac­tive enter­tain­ment keeps you com­ing back for more.

5:30pm aMBUSH Gallery, L3 Cen­tral Park, 28 Broad­way, Chippendale

Head up to the aMBUSH gallery space to check out Streets Ahead and immerse your­self in the world of street art and streetwear through a one-off exhibit and Vivid Ideas talks with artists, design­ers and brands at the fore­front of street cul­ture. The exhibit dis­plays works by all of the spe­cially invited inter­na­tional speak­ers includ­ing Tony Arcabas­cio, jeff­stable, Mishka, 123KLAN and L’Amour Supreme.

6pm aMBUSH Gallery, L3 Cen­tral Park, 28 Broad­way, Chippendale

After the exhibit, find your way to the New­town Hotel pop-up bar in the gallery’s event space for a drink and front-row view of the Streets Ahead light show, spark­ing up at 6pm. Watch as works by indige­nous artist, Reko Ren­nie and mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary artist, Beast­man dance across the heritage-listed CUB Brew­ery façade. The pop-up is also host­ing an eclec­tic music pro­gram chock full of DJs and bands from all over the music spec­trum. See the sched­ule here.

Color the Bridge, viewed from North Sydney. Vivid Sydney 2014.


Grab a train from Cen­tral to Cir­cu­lar Quay to the lit­er­ally beat­ing heart of Vivid. Expect crowds, but also expect to be in total awe. Explore your sur­rounds as you step into a vibrant play­ground where light instal­la­tions abound, set to a unique score of musi­cal sound­tracks and excited fes­ti­val­go­ers. Across from the sta­tion, Cus­toms House enchants as its façade blos­soms with Sydney’s flora and fauna, while next door, the New Zealand-Japan made Light Origami cre­ates a kalei­do­scopic world of over 320 origami shapes reflect­ing and refract­ing spec­trums of light through­out a mir­rored dome. But don’t go too far from the wharf though because you’ve got a boat to catch at 8pm.

8pm Vivid Syd­ney Har­bour Tour, Wharf 4, Cir­cu­lar Quay

MCA Façade, Vivid Sydney 2014Grab yet another spec­tac­u­lar front-row view of the lights aboard one of the city’s iconic yel­low and green fer­ries dur­ing a Vivid Syd­ney Har­bour Tour. This fes­ti­val first gives you an exclu­sive, beyond-breathtaking show of Vivid Sydney’s Har­bour Lights precinct set to an orig­i­nal Vivid Music sound­track with com­men­tary pro­vid­ing the behind-the-scenes scoop on the mes­mer­iz­ing light dis­plays to be seen. Start­ing at the Opera House Sails designed this year by Uni­ver­sal Every­thing, and the Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art’s elec­tric Mer­chan­dised Colour Assem­blage pro­jec­tion, the ferry – only at half-capacity so every­one can expe­ri­ence the dra­matic views – putt-putts along under the daz­zling Har­bour Bridge cov­ered in 100,000 LEDs. Next you’re taken to Antarc­tica on an explo­ration of the Polar Lights as they bounce and reflect atop the Mar­itime Museum’s roof. Con­tin­u­ing on towards Pyr­mont Bay Park, the night is set ablaze with an inter­ac­tive dig­i­tal fire­works dis­play, just one part of this mul­ti­sen­sory urban play­ground. Finally, as the ferry chugs its way back to Cir­cu­lar Quay, you’re taken past the Light Walk from The Rocks to the Walsh Bay Tree of Light for a finale burst­ing with even more colour and glim­mer­ing lights.

The Vivid Syd­ney Har­bour Tours are an absolute must for a totally unique per­spec­tive of the shim­mer­ing har­bour. Find out more and buy your tick­ets to board here.

Robotantic Martin Place, Vivid 2015


As a break­out favourite last year, this busy day­time stomp­ing ground for Sydney’s cor­po­rates trans­forms into an lumi­nous evening precinct, appeal­ing to all five senses. With deli­cious smells waft­ing from some of the city’s tasti­est food joints, inter­ac­tive instal­la­tions to see and hear, plus the chance to bat­tle in out in a game of drones, the Vivid party here car­ries on until midnight.

9:45pm Tran­scen­dence, Mar­tin Place

At this point, I’m sure you’re won­der­ing if any food is involved dur­ing this night out, and of course! I was just mak­ing sure you worked up a good appetite before approach­ing the foodie won­der­land of Tran­scen­dence. This archi­tec­tural media sculp­ture by UK designer Joseph Cross­ley fea­tures mes­mer­iz­ing scenes using new media art from pro­jec­tion map­ping to a computer-coded light show. Every night will see a dif­fer­ent team of hand-selected artists work­ing along­side Cross­ley to cre­ate an ever-changing visual feast. So as the lights daz­zle and dance above, your mouth will begin to water at the treats below. Delight in a selec­tion of Sydney’s trendi­est food and drink hawk­ers. Here’s just a pre­view of the nosh and tip­ples on offer:Rocks Brewing Company at Vivid Sydney 2015

  • Porteño (Argen­tin­ian): Roast pork sand­wiches & Spicy lamb sausages
  • Thiev­ery (Lebanese): Wagyu kebab & Lebanese fried chicken
  • Tsuru (Asian Street Food): Hot & spicy BBQ pork belly buns
  • Cow & The Moon (Award-Winning Gelato & Cof­fee): Affogato
  • Rocks Brew­ing Com­pany (Brew­ery): Local beers & Local spir­its by Sydney’s Archie Rose distillery
til Mid­night Mar­tin Place

After indulging in the menu at Transendence, digest a bit and have a wan­der of the other light shows in Mar­tin Place. Enter inside the 1920s cel­lu­loid film­mak­ing tech­niques and work­ings of a zoetrope at Phase Frames. Remem­ber the impor­tance of switch­ing off your tech­nol­ogy and tun­ing into the world around you with Rob­ot­an­tic’s inter­ac­tive botan­i­cal gar­den of light and sound. Feel the beat Drum Cir­cle by Aus­tralian duo Kate & Marty where the rhythm you drum out con­nects to the chang­ing lights through­out the installation.

Now if you find your­self with more time on your hands to ful­fill your Vivid needs, con­tinue read­ing to dis­cover my quin­ntessen­tial hit list for the fes­ti­val (bar­ring the instal­la­tions already men­tioned above).

You can also check out my themed Vivid trails here.

Con­tinue reading…

A Night of Play at Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney 2015 InterPlay at Cadmans Cottage. Image coutesy of Destination NSW

With games, child­hood toys and lit­tle mon­sters that dance, kids young and old will love play­ing with these inter­ac­tive light works.

INTER/play by The Pro­pa­ganda Mill, Australia

Cad­mans Cot­tage, Bar­ney & Bligh Reserve, The Rocks – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

By cap­tur­ing your move­ments and reac­tions, then pro­ject­ing them through colour and graph­ics, INTER/play rein­tro­duces Sydney’s old­est res­i­den­tial build­ing as an inter­ac­tive can­vas. Every per­son in the area becomes part of the work cre­at­ing a unique image every time.

Toy Shad­ows by Har­manto Nguyen, Australia

Between Piers 6/7 & 4/5, Hick­son Rd, Walsh Bay – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Using the sim­plic­ity of graphic cutouts and a sin­gle light source, Har­manto Nguyen cre­ates a sur­real world of shad­owy fig­ures that take you on a safari or travel with you into the future. Dif­fer­ent scenes play out as you approach the work and begin to inter­act with this play­fully mys­te­ri­ous installation.

Vivid Sydney 2015. Monster WorldMon­ster World by Dune, Australia

Play­fair St, The Rocks – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Mon­ster World is an alter­nate uni­verse where crea­tures with an affin­ity for dance appear out of a beam of light to mimic ges­tures and fol­low your move­ments. The more peo­ple who enter this world ruled by illu­mi­nated mon­sters, the more the inhab­i­tants come out to play.

Swing Glow by NBRS+PARTNERS & Fiona Venn, Australia

First Fleet Park, George St, The Rocks – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Who doesn’t love a good push on a swing from time to time? Let your ‘big per­son’ guard down and take off into the night on one of the glow­ing swing sets near the MCA. The higher you go, the faster you go, the more the swing changes in colour, light and sound. 

Duck Duck Goose by Tem­pest Tech­ni­cal Light­ing, Australia

First Fleet Park, George St, The Rocks – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

Tem­pest Tech­ni­cal Light­ing cre­ates a mas­sive game of this child­hood clas­sic with a cir­cle of illu­mi­nated drums that respond to ambi­ent light, touch and sound. Once you’ve come within a few cen­time­ters of the instal­la­tion, the game begins.

Dolly, Vivid Sydney 2015

Dolly by Tina Fox, Australia

Campbell’s Cove – 22 May to 08 July, 6pm ‘til midnight

Hand­crafted entirely out of cot­ton rope and LED strip-lights, this giant Dolly sits three-meter high wait­ing for vis­i­tors to give her a hug and grab a selfie. The instal­la­tion plays on child­hood mem­o­ries of dolls, night­lights and cud­dly teddy bears, which the artist illu­mi­nates on the grand scale.

a game of drones by Intel

Mar­tin Place – 22 May to 08 June, 6pm ‘til midnight

As a Vivid first, vis­i­tors are chal­lenged to a game of drones. Fly your very own drone, send­ing it into the air (although within an enclo­sure) in an ulti­mate bumper bat­tle to the top.