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17 Pictures to Inspire You to Visit Vivid Sydney 2017

Sydney is entering winter, the night falls earlier and there’s a chill in the air. But now, Sydney is also graced with the Vivid Festival… A celebration of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney seems to be getting bigger ever year. Around the city and the harbour, the night walker is greeted by eerie and colourful creations. Sydney Harbour plays host to a range of wild creatures and thought-provoking installations. As always, the Sydney Opera House is the star of the show, lending its elegant sails to the most incredible creative expression. I walked around the Rocks, the City and the Botanical Gardens on a cold night and marvelled at the colours expressed. Here are my photos to inspire you to visit Vivid Sydney 2017.

Sydney Opera House: Lighting of the Sails

A great way to approach the Opera House is via Sydney Ferries.

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Tableaux that evoke the pulsing sea creatures, eye-searing bird-plumage and iridescent plant life of an organo-mechanistic future are projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House — and invite audiences to take a unique dive into an indescribable world of colour and light during Vivid Sydney. Sydney Artist and Art Director Ash Bolland presents the imagery behind Audio Creatures, brought to life by breathtaking soundscapes from Brazil’s legendary sound-wizard and composer Amon Tobin.

This year, Vivid Sydney presents a visceral, visionary work that will transpose the admirers of Utzon’s ineffable ‘sails’ to a parallel universe beneath the Sydney harbour line and beyond the jungle walls of a predatory CBD.

The Bridge

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Dreamscape including The Bridge is the world’s largest interactive lighting display. It links the entire Quay precinct from the Sydney Opera House to the Sydney Harbour Bridge into one cohesive canvas of light.

This expansive and dynamic installation enhances buildings around Circular Quay with colour and texture; sets up a one-kilometre ‘line of light’ along the Cahill Expressway and beams 25 brilliant ‘fingers of light’ into the night sky from the roof of the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

The control hub for the installation is located in a perspex dome at Circular Quay and uses an extraordinary purpose-built 3D interactive model of the city skyline; participants simply touch the model to change the colours and patterns across the canvas of the buildings before them or to add their own sparkle to the eastern face of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

This beautiful and inspiring interactive model provides an exciting level of performance to the event, with the resulting display shared by viewers watching from vantage points around the harbour.

 

Organic Vibrations

The Museum of Contemporary Art turns into a pulsating and living building.

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Organic Vibrations is a collaboration between Julia Gorman, an Australian artist whose work is currently on display in the collection galleries of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), and Paris-based creative and artistic collective, Danny Rose. Together, they create a single, coherent artwork from the constant morphing and mutation of a series of images, which flow seamlessly over the façade of the MCA.

The abstract images are drawn from the shapes and colours of the natural world, and are seen as sinuous lines that appear to grow organically until they cover the severe and geometric art deco façade of the Museum. The installation uses projection-mapping techniques to transform the façade with images originally made by the artist in watercolour, oils, marker pen, and painting applications. This flow of handmade images, synthesised with music, creates a multisensory experience as the audience follows a 10-minute animated sequence of colour, movement and emotion.

The animations resolve as a series of coloured strata, like the age rings on a tree or the layers of a topographical map, flowing in successive waves across the façade, hollowing it out in places and inflating it in others. The building is seen as a dynamic entity, always growing and changing — finally cohering into a rhythmic succession of surfaces lit from the inside. The installation is an endless breath, a rhythmic, vibrating sound that shapes and transmutes the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art into a multitude of organic forms in constant motion.

 

Ethereal Columns

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Ethereal Columns explores the possibility of a colonnade without solidity, without weight to bear. The work is architectural: bold and imposing, it appears to carry its burden with grandeur. However, as the columns of light dance and flicker, the colonnade reveals itself as a structure without mass — and the columns transition into the ethereal.

 

 

Portholes

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Portholes captures the viewing experience of explorers as they peer through the windows of their ‘capsule’, to marvel at the furthest reaches of the Earth – and beyond…

For centuries humankind has sought to explore the Earth’s environment. From the ocean depths of the Mariana Trench, to the planetary orbits of NASA’s space program, humans have looked through portholes to marvel at the previously unknown.

This installation creates the illusion of seeing various environments through circular apertures that seem to penetrate a structural façade. With projected imagery that aligns precisely with clusters of mounted portholes, the observer experiences a view into the immense void ‘behind’ the wall.

At any moment, the porthole structures could reveal an aquatic scene, or a stellar one; a vast landscape, or one viewed from the scale of an insect. Representations and abstractions of worlds appear, shifting in colour, light, nature and culture.

 

The Sunflowers

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

The Sunflowers welcomes each visitor with a bow — and in a most charming way introduces them to the potential of harnessing solar energy for a sustainable future.

This joyous light sculpture assembles a harvest of potted sunflowers along a walkway with an east–west orientation, allowing maximum exposure to the sun. Solar panels harness energy from the sun during the day and store it in batteries embedded in the flowers: at night the stored energy is used to brighten LEDs in the petals and to facilitate the ‘bowing’ movement.

In nature, sunflowers respond directionally to sunlight (this is also called heliotropism):a young flower faces east at dawn and greets the sun, then slowly turns west as the sun moves across the sky; during the night, they gradually turn back to the east to begin the cycle again. Sunflowers are loved by children and adults and are frequently associated with happiness, positivity and adoration: in Oriental cultures, sunflowers signify intelligence, strength, good luck and a long life.

 

Waratah

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Waratah is a unique tribute to an iconic flowering plant. The majestic waratah is native to Australia and is the floral emblem of the state of New South Wales: it is difficult to cultivate and slow to mature, but flowers riotously in its native bushland setting.

To honour this extraordinary plant, the artists have created a huge inflatable light sculpture, rich in colour and beautiful by day; at night it opens out to give visitors a larger-than-life experience of the aesthetics of this magnificent bloom.

Waratah, like all flowers, is sensitive to its immediate environment: it responds to sound and movement, shifting from its ambient resting glow to an explosion of light. Visitors can walk right up to it and make direct contact and it responds playfully, creating integrated wave patterns with light.

The interactivity built into the sculpture is inspired by scientific research that suggests that plants and their flowers are more like us than we think. Just as humans respond emotionally to different types of contact or interaction, some plant specimens appear to respond to physical contact and sound. Different sensations can trigger a cascade of physiological and genetic responses; for example, some plants can ‘hear’ when insects are chewing them and release chemicals to stop the damage.

Plants are also able to sense changes in their environment, and appear to communicate these changes to other plants via a subterranean ‘internet’ of underground fungus.

As they interact with Waratah, visitors not only celebrate the organic design of a marvellous work of nature, but experience a sense of that often-unseen relationship that exists between humans and plants.

 

Birds of Lumos

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Birds of Lumos introduces us to ‘Rowi’ the kiwi and her baby chick; she wears sight-enhancing goggles — because unlike most nocturnal birds kiwi have very poor eyesight (although a keen sense of hearing and smell). The artists have made these two little birds representative of the rare Rowi species of kiwi, and their work is a comment on the importance of conservation and the protection of wildlife.

As visitors gather around them, Rowi and her chick come to life — glowing and pulsating different colours through their light-globe bodies. If Rowi senses danger, she will go through a ‘charge’ sequence. Her glow will dim for a few seconds to ‘charge up’ and then illuminate in an intense display of light. The Rowi kiwi does well to be wary of intruders because unfortunately 95% of kiwi hatched in the wild are killed by introduced pests and predators.

 

Spreading Life

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Spreading Life is inspired by that most natural (and magical) of experiences: blowing on a dandelion. This installation captures the delicate moment when a dandelion’s seeds float off and spread through the air; a passage of nature — that shows us that as a flower dies, others are born.

The work offers a unique form of interaction, inviting people to blow on two small light sculptures equipped with sensors and crafted into the form of dandelion flowers. To ensure the message is clear, neon is positioned alongside the flowers and forms the word ‘BLOW’ with moving arrows indicating the appropriate spot.

Visitors who approach and take up the invitation to interact with the small dandelions activate a bright animation in an adjacent group of larger flowers — the seeds light up and begin to glow in space and a sound simulates their floating away through the air. Ultimately this lovely work reminds us that blowing on a dandelion represents hopes, dreams and desires.

 

 

You Lookin’ at Me

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

You lookin’ at me? takes five big glaring eyes, scatters them across a grass verge and invests them with the behaviour of a watchful predator.

When undisturbed, the glowing, bulging eyeballs, complete with colourful irises, stare randomly, appearing a little bored; however, when a pedestrian passes they spark into action, each eyeball closely following the passage of the visitor.

When there is more than one person nearby the eyes have to choose whom to follow or ignore. The general perception for the viewer: it is they who are being watched.

Sometimes, when a visitor comes too close, the eyes become nervous and react by trying to intimidate the intruder with a lot of eyeball-rolling. If this fails to scare them off, the eyes might become bloodshot and angry. They will then start to emit a swelling, sinister sound.

If the eyes still fail to chase the visitor away, they simply give up. In a wink they turn into ‘eyes-wide-shut’, although some eyeballs may go into dignified denial and simply project a blank stare.

 

Urban Tree 2.0

From the Vivid Sydney 2017 website:

Urban Tree 2.0 transforms the sculptural form of the Commercial Travellers Association (CTA) building in Martin Place into a giant luminous mushroom-shaped tree teeming with exotic creatures.

The much-loved building, designed by modernist architect Harry Seidler is already a notable contrast to the soaring angular geometry of the surrounding skyscrapers. During Vivid, the organic curves of the building become a canvas for breathtaking projections and animations that take viewers deep within a forested eco system. Rivers flow, plant-life grows and each night a glowing frog succeeds in catching his dinner.

The work is a fresh chapter of the multi-award winning Urban Tree 2.0 that launched Martin Place’s entry as a Vivid Precinct in 2014. The first work explored themes associated with the impact of high density living on the natural environment and the human need for green space.  The 2017 projections extend this theme further by giving viewers a unique glimpse of the interdependent creatures and habitats on our delicate and beautiful Earth.

 

At the end of the Botanical Gardens Walk, the Conservatory of Museum swaps colours in an eerie display.

Tips for Vivid Sydney 2017

There are more installations to see around the City, Darling Harbour, Chatswood and Taronga Zoo. If you want to see everything, you would need to spread your visits over several evenings.

There are plenty of food options along the way, fitting all budgets.

It can be quite cold, wear something warm and don’t forget your gloves !

There are plenty of opportunities for unique photos and videos.

Public transport to get in and out is best.

Vivid Sydney is not only about light and colour, there are plenty of public talks and workshops. Check out the Vivid Sydney website for more information. Vivid Sydney is open until 26th May 2017.

More on Sydney

For a day time trip around Sydney, check out my post on The Basin in Sydney’s North. And follow my Pinterest board on all things Sydney.

How was your experience of Vivid Sydney this year? Please share in the comments below !

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38 Comments

  1. Tanya

    June 8, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    This year my husband and eight year old daughter saw Vivid from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They said it was an unforgettable experience. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics Delphine.

    1. Delphine

      June 8, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Tanya, seeing the lights from the top of the Bridge must have been amazing, lucky them!

  2. Arita

    June 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    ahh these pics make me wanna book a flight to Sydeny right now <3

    1. Delphine

      June 8, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Arita, Sydney is ready for you, and there are plenty of things to see!

  3. Natalie

    June 8, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Wow, I’ve never heard about this Vivid Festival in Sydney before, but it looks like an amazing event! Really impressive light effect and nice photos you took! 🙂

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Hi Natalie, the light shows and installations are amazing. It’s a great opportunity for contemporary artists to showcase their talent!

  4. Dominique| Perchance to Cook

    June 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Oh wow, I have never been to Sydney but these photos sure do inspire me to visit! The vibrant colors here are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Hi Dominique, Vivid Sydney is a great time to visit Sydney, I hope you get a chance to visit!

  5. Courtney Livingston

    June 9, 2017 at 1:10 am

    These photos look incredible! I have always wanted to visit Sydnei. It’s on my bucket list for sure!!

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Hi Courtney, thank you, I’m pleased you like the photos. I hope you get a chance to visit Sydney some time!

  6. echoesofhervoice

    June 9, 2017 at 2:59 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Sydney. Now these pics are making me want to go more. Thanks!

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Sydney is a spectacular city, very diverse! I hope you get a chance to visit!

  7. Brian

    June 9, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Wonderful colors in these photos. Makes one want to visit Sydney…at night.

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Hi Brian, it was hard getting good photos at night but I think they came out quite well, thank you!

  8. Mrs. Millennial

    June 9, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I’ve been to Sydney twice but never made it to this festival…I’ll just have to go back!

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Mrs Millenial, Sydney does public festivals very well, this one is spreading to the suburbs and there is so much to see!

  9. raisingyourpetsnaturally

    June 9, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit Sydney. Vivid Sydney looks amazing! My aunt actually lives in Australia, yet I have not made the trip. hmmm Might need to reconsider.

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Tonya, you should definitely take a detour to Australia, it’s an amazing country!

  10. Mica

    June 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Oh the kiwi birds are breathtaking – I’d seen a lot of similar images around but not of those installations. I would really like to visit Vivid Sydney one year, once the boys are older of course.

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Hi Mica, yes the kiwi birds were a really cool installation… It’s not all about the Opera House, there is so much to see! I hope you get to visit Sydney sometime!

  11. Leah

    June 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I love that each light show has a story behind it. I love the story of the Waratah and the Bird of Lumos. Beautiful pictures!

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Leah, I went to NZ recently and saw a little kiwi burrowing in the dark, they are so cute! I’m pleased that you like my photos, I’m quite pleased with them!

  12. Cait Weingartner

    June 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    These photos are awesome! Sydney is definitely on my travel “wish list” and this post makes me want to go, NOW!

    1. Delphine

      June 9, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Cait, thank you for your kind comment, I love living in Sydney and I feel very privileged to enjoy these sights!

  13. PrettyMummaSays

    June 9, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Stunning captures!!! Sydney is on top of my list of places-to-visit.

    1. Delphine

      June 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

      You should definitely visit Sydney, there is so much to see!

  14. Charlotte

    June 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

    I loooooove Sydney <3 <3 <3 One of my favorite cities in the world! Gorgeous photos

    1. Delphine

      June 10, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Hi Charlotte, I agree with you, Sydney is amazing, I’m so privileged to live here!

  15. dalalyagoubi

    June 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Never heard of this festival, it sounds amazing. Sydney is such an amazing city it’s on my bucket list anyway <3

    1. Delphine

      June 12, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      This festival is pretty awesome and it’s growing every year, I hope you get a chance to see it!

  16. Fumiko

    June 13, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Wow! What a great festival! I’ve never been to Australia and I didn’t know such a great festival! i would love to visit Sydney now!

    1. Delphine

      June 13, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Hi Fumiko, there are plenty of things to see and so in Sydney all year long! I hope you get a chance to visit some day!

  17. sachie

    June 13, 2017 at 5:41 am

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve always wanted to visit Sydney – I wish it wasn’t so far from me!

    1. Delphine

      June 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Hi Sachie, thank you for your compliment, I’m very happy with the photos. It wasn’t easy shooting at night but they came out quite well!

  18. Teresa

    June 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    These amazing pictures remind me how much I miss my recent trip to Sydney!

    1. Delphine

      June 13, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Teresa, I hope you make it back to Sydney soon!

  19. Guru Karanam

    June 14, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Wow!! pictures are amazing and definitely any one who see these pics would book a flight to Sydney

    1. Delphine

      June 15, 2017 at 8:48 am

      I would be very happy if my photos inspire people to visit Sydney for the Vivid festival, it’s a fantastic way to experience the city!

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