White Night was a celebration of Melbourne’s Urbanism and culture on an unprecedented scale. From the National Gallery of Victoria in the South, to the Melbourne City Baths in the North, the city was turned over to the people to explore, feel, participate and spectate over 100 separate activities and installations. Estimates suggest that half a million people flooded in to the Central Business District to take in the festival. At its peak, Swanston Street seemed to have narrowed with the sheer volume of people taking over the street.
Perhaps the most iconic aspect to White Night was the Flinders Street Projections. The artwork created by Electric Canvas transformed the Flinders Streetscape into an intense canyon of colour and movement.
The State Library was projected upon both inside and out. From the outside images of roman antiquities artificially aged the neoclassical facade back 2000 years. Moments later a brilliant projection of macro scale plant forms transform the facade into something else entirely.
Once within the reading room, the viewer is exposed to a 360 degree projection entitled Molecular Kaleidoscope ‘Virus One Billion Times’. The animation features super sized virus cell structure and DNA chains that pulsate colour around the room to an intense soundtrack composed by Franc Tétaz. The reading room is a perfect location for this expression which mixes science and art so successfully.
Of all the fantastic projection and illumination pieces on offer during White Night, one of the most eye-popping pieces was I Heart Melbourne by Kollide Projections. The way that the artist used the brick canvas to create an illusion of folding and sliding bricks was brilliant.
One of the most popular attractions of White Night was National Gallery of Victoria. The iconic stone facade designed by Roy Grounds provided the perfect canvas for elaborate projections of tattooed bodies by Nicole Reed and The Electric Canvas. The piece entitled Tattooed City played upon the link between street art on our buildings and tattoos on our skin.
Within the gallery, The Melbourne Now exhibition was in full swing with some additional events such as a silent disco and a RRR Radio Live broadcast.
Aside from the beautiful Roy Grounds masterpiece, a clear highlight is the much publicised ‘Bin Dome’ by Dr Rory Hyde. Constructed primarily from plastic rubbish bins sourced from Ikea, the geodesic dome sits boldly within the space. It is a sublime piece of design which highlights the confidence and competence of Melbourne’s architectural industry.
Naturally for a night like White Night it would not suffice for the dome to be used as a chill out space. Instead a mini dance party was taking place in front of a live DJ to ensure a dynamic audio and visual experience was combined.
Who would have thought Melbournians would queue for up to an hour, just to see rain. Who would have thought that this wait would be well worthwhile? Purple Rain was an installation art piece by Pierre Ardouvin which creates a truly remarkable sensory experience. Set against the backdrop of the Old Melbourne Gaol, participants are equipped with transparent umbrellas and then enticed into a purple mist. Naturally the experience is capped off by the amplified soundtrack, Purple Rain by Prince.
White Night 2014 was an experience like no other Melbourne has seen. Part arts festival, part street party, part exhibition, Melbourne has never looked more like a cultural hub. Key to this is the world class architecture, the cornerstone of Melbourne’s cultural expression.
Architecture is for Everyone.