Vivid Sydney 2016: From Bjork’s Virtual Reality exhibition to Bon Iver’s world first live show

  • Chris Singh
  • March 17, 2016
  • Comments Off on Vivid Sydney 2016: From Bjork’s Virtual Reality exhibition to Bon Iver’s world first live show

Starting from Friday 27th May, Sydney will once again turn into an illuminated playground of lights, music, and ideas, as Vivid Sydney returns for it’s longest run in the festival’s history. Now five days longer (extended until Saturday 18th June), the world renowned platform will be bringing in cutting-edge, world premiere projects from the likes of Björk, New Order, and Bon Iver; talks from megastar storytellers like Spike Jonze and Beau Willimon (the creator of Netflix original House of Cards); and over 80 light installations and projections, anchored by the legendary Lighting of the Sails, which in 2016 will be curated with diverse stories from six Indigenous artists, whose work illustrates the connections between Indigenous astronomy and the natural world – designed as a concept titled “Storylines”.

Vivid Light

Over 23 nights Vivid Sydney will take place in some of the most iconic areas of Sydney, with an expansion into Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Taronga Zoo. Other precincts confirmed for Vivid Light installations include Chatswood, Central Park, Darling Harbor, the Australian National Maritime Museum, Martin Place, and for the first time, The Galeries.

Last year, Vivid Sydney attracted a record-breaking 1.7 million domestic and international visitors to NSW, all spread out amongst the various precincts which uphold this grand celebration of creativity. For their first time being involved in the festival, and as part of their 100th year anniversary, Taronga Zoo will light up with Be the Light for The World, an light trail illustrated with larger-than-life flowing animals to raise awareness of the species the Zoo is committed to protecting.

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney will also be celebrating a huge milestone, their 200th birthday, by transforming into a Garden of Light with 3D mapped projections and massive light installations. Those heading along can expect a wonderland of shimmering trees and dazzling bushes.

The Galeries will be joining Vivid in a big way as they host Perspectives, a collection of some of the prominent video artists in the world, designed into an installations spread throughout the complex that will create an immersive galaxy of colour, light, and movement.

Sydney’s Hidden Stories will take place at Customs House, this year bringing in projected stories of an adventurous blue tongue lizard that spread a message of sustainability, as he explores incredible landscapes concealed around Vivid Sydney’s home city.

Over at the MCA will be The Matter of Painting, a collaboration between Western Sydney artist Huseyin Sami and French artistic collective Danny Rose. The iconic building will be transformed into a grand canvas that will appear to be carved, painted, cut, and brushed into a multi-sensory experience, aiming to chance perceptions of the building’s architecture, volume, and mass through a wide range of animation techniques, sound design, and music.

The famous (and often ridiculously packed) Vivid Light Walk will feature of 60 installations ranging from playful and interactive experiences like rocketships and pinball games. Australian installations include “Attune”, an ever-changing, interactive light garden that will have clusters of large, geometric crystalline forms appearing to grow up from the ground and respond to the sounds of voices with reactions of colour and light; “Infinity Box”, a mysterious collection of infinity mirrors that play with a never-ending world of pattern and light; and “Wormhole Galaxy”, a pinball-style collaborative game experience in a three-dimensional space with players tasked in collecting bonus points by working together to trigger animated designs hidden in hot spots within the game.

Many food and beverage outlets will be concentrated in Martin Place, where a large illuminated fountain will use live human birthrate data translated as water droplets.

Much more will be featured as part of Vivid Light, with what is looking like the most engaging and interactive program yet. More information about Vivid Light can be HERE.

Vivid Music

Vivid Music is really split into two legs here, Vivid Music and Vivid LIVE (which takes place at Sydney Opera House). Vivid Music has been curated by industry vet Stephen Ferris, while Vivid LIVE is handled by Ben Marshall. Both programs will be presenting some world premieres from some of the world’s most influential musicians, with Vivid Music largely focused in Carriageworks, headlined by singular artist Björk with Björk Digital, a virtual reality project exhibited from 4th to 18th June, one of two events at Carriageworks with the other being a debut music and art event from Fuzzy Music.

Björk Digital will also see the artist performing a DJ set with special guests on Friday 3rd June at Carriageworks, to celebrate the opening of the exhibition

“I felt it is time to premiere my recent virtual reality stuff and am delighted to do so in Sydney. We have made seven 360o videos for Vulnicura and I am enthusiastic about this natural continuity of the music video: the intimacy, total merge of surround sound and vision makes VR an ideal home! Looking forward to celebrating it whilst DJ-ing with some good friends there,” said Björk.

Venues across the city will also be getting involved on the music side, with the likes of Newtown Social Club, Redfern newbie Cake Wines Cellar Door, and festival favs Oxford Art Factory, Freda’s, and The Basement.

ARIA Hall of Fame inductees and 80’s icons Models will be joined by The Machinations and a stripped down version of Dave Mason’s The Reels for a one-night-only event at Enmore Theatre. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music will be putting on an event titled The Sound Gardens Vivid New Music with guest artists like Clayton Thomas and Natasha Anderson. Also joining the festival will be Aussie hip-hop festival Come Together, the essential One Day Sundays, and Soul of Sydney.

Vivid LIVE will be bringing in an epic line-up with artists both new and legendary, parties from the likes of Goodgod Super Club, curating four nights across two weekends, and more.

Headliners will be New Order who will perform two shows celebrating their 35-year, 10-album career on 1st and 5th June, and then two shows in a collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and celebrated British composer Joe Duddell. Big moments will also be coming our way from Bon Iver, debuting his new show “Cercle” across four Sydney exclusive performances (27th-30th May); Multi Grammy-winning jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding, presenting her fifth studio album on 4th June alongside a series of vignettes created with Director Will Weigler; and Future Classic who will be presenting an intimate Sydney-only concert by Ta-Ku with Wafia.

There will be exhibitions on site for most of the festival, with a special New Order Project featuring artwork, photographer, and video from the iconic band, running alongside intimate screenings of some of the best music-related features ever made including 24 Hour Party People, Joy Division, neworderstory, and Control.

A series of free talk sessions will also feature an exploration of New Order’s lasting contribution to music by writer, broadcaster, and cultural critic Paul Morely and Myf Warhurst.

Vivid LIVE

New Order (1st, 5th June)
New Order + ACO (2nd, 4th June)
Bon Iver presents Cercle (27th to 30th May)
Anohni: Anthony and The Johnsons + Oneohtrix Point Never Present Hopelessness (27th to 31st May)
Esperanza Spalding (4th June)
Future Classic Pres. Ta-Ku Live Ft. Wafia (3rd June)
Hiatus Kaiyote with Sampa the Great and visuals by Timeboy (31st May)
Max Richter performs Sleep with Grace Davidson (3rd, 4th June)
Oneohtrix Point Never (29th May)
Polica (3rd June)
Deafheaven (2nd June)
Wayne Shorter Quartet (13th June)
Goodgod Super Club (27th to 28th May; 3rd to 4th June)
Tiny Ruins (1st June)
Dress Up Attack! Feat, Walter Martin with Sally Seltmann and Holly Throsby (29th May)

More info on the Vivid Music program can be found HERE.

Vivid Ideas

Curator Jess Scully has put together another very diverse series of events for this year’s Vivid Ideas, headline by the Game Changers Talk Series with the likes of Director/Producer Spike Jonze, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, Orange is the New Black creative force Jenji Kohan, and influential Australian creative and fashion blogger Margaret Zhang. There will also be events looking at Australia’s start-up culture, the relationship between digital media, technology, and liveable cities, as part of Media Architecture Biennale 2016, and more.

For more information on Vivid Ideas click HERE.

Vivid Sydney will run from 27th May to 18th June, 2016. Stay tuned to the AU for more announcements!


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.