People from the Northern Hemisphere have tried to describe to me the awesomeness of Christmas in winter, when the daylight fades early and it’s freezing and the Christmas lights look so beautiful. Of course, in Sydney, it doesn’t go like that at all. You have to wait until late in the evening for it to be dark enough to see Christmas light properly, and then everyone is out on the streets eating icecream and walking around in shorts, skirts and t-shirts.

Maybe the Vivid Festival is the closest Sydney gets to that Northern Hemisphere Christmas light experience. I mean, there’s nothing related to Christmas in it at all, but for a couple of weeks in winter, the shoreline around Sydney Harbour is scattered with beautiful light sculptures and iconic buildings are lit up with artistic light images and animation. It’s dark by 6pm. We all put on our coats and hats and wander around in the crisp, coastal winter air, faces illuminated by beautiful lights – warm yellow lights, garish neon lights, dainty fairy lights, bold tubes of light.

We got to go out twice this year – once with friends on the night the lights were turned on and once to attend the Planetarium concert at the Opera House. Both nights were AMAZING.

1. Josh uses the interactive light boxes created for Gotye’s ARIA performance of Somebody That I Used to Know
2. Optic fibres
3. Digital Wattle – one of my favourites
4. High -owered projection onto the Opera House
5. An ever changing light garden projected onto the roof of the Argyle Cut (just uner the Harbour Bridge) – also one of my favourites.
6. A giant kaleidoscope light box – also a favourite! Can I have this many favourites?
7. The ABS had set up a giant interactive projection of the 2011 Census data. Only a few more weeks until the first wave of census data is released!
8. Simon plays some giant neon hopscotch
9. Katie, Kat and Mick, being blinded by the ugliest artwork this year – three pylons of LED light celebrating a significant anniversary for the NSW Police Force. It was so gross!
10. Stars. Another favourite.


On Monday night I trekked out again with Matt and our friends Laura, Steph and Hamish, to see the beautiful cosmic performance I was preparing for here.

Basically it was incredible. There were seven trombones. Seven! Nico Muhly had a piano and a celeste and a keyboard – often he would be playing two at once, one with each hand. Or playing with one hand and conducting the trombones and string quartet with the other. My favourite pieces were Mercury, Earth, Saturn and Neptune, in that order. I really, really hope that they record the whole suite and publish it as an album or DVD. It’s almost painful to know that I have heard that music but will never get an opportunity to hear it again.

11. Poster art for the concert.
12. View during our seat during the encore performance of Neptune (with lyrics).

Alix found more official videos from an American performance earlier this year at this website. Hooray!


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