Lighting up the M.C.A @ Vivid Sydney

Lighting up the M.C.A @ Vivid Sydney

Sydney will once again be transformed into a spectacular canvas of light, music and ideas when Vivid Sydney takes over the city after dark from 25 May – 11 June 2012.

Tonight sees the launch of a ‘world-­first’ interactive lighting collaboration on the façade of the recently constructed new wing of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), allowing festival-goers to literally ‘play the building’.

It will work via a purpose-built interface that interacts with Will.I.Am’s music and the projections of renowned Sydney artist Justene Williams, whose performative style is particularly suited to the collaboration.

Using arm and hand gestures, the public can direct the artwork and rearrange Will.I.Am’s loops and samples, controlling the tone and chord progression.

“The MCA is going to become an instrument for the people of Sydney to play,” said Will.I.Am. “The project illustrates the magic that can be created when innovative minds and technology come together”.

The Harbour Foreshore will become the outdoor stage for over 50 light art sculptures, performances from local and international musicians and the Vivid Ideas Exchange at the MCA featuring public talks and debates from global creative thinkers.

The MCA installation will be one of the highlights of the free light show happening around The Rocks, Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House and Walsh Bay from 6pm to midnight every night during Vivid Sydney.

justene williams

The full Vivid Sydney program is available at

The Buchan Group / Haycom’s installation at Vivid Sydney 2012, ‘sub|version’ is an innovative mapped water projection, corrected for viewing near the northern Overseas Passenger Terminal tower.

Colouring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular immersive light installations and projections; performances from local and international musicians at Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House and the new Vivid Ideas Exchange at the MCA featuring public talks and debates from leading global creative thinkers.

Vivid Sydney is a major celebration of the creative industries and the biggest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting over 400,000 attendees in 2011

Among Karen O, Janelle Monae, Florence and The Machine and the other 22 artists contributing to this year’s Vivid Sydney, will be Black Eyed Peas founder, who is also the Director of Creative Innovation for Intel will team with Sydney digital arts company Spinifex to create a world-first interactive lighting construction at the new wing of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for the Vivid Festival

Fergus Linehan could be feeling the heat, having added the role of festival director of Vivid LIVE to his job as head of contemporary music at Sydney’s Opera House.

Instead, the former Sydney Festival artistic director has warmly embraced the challenge of curating the musical component of Vivid Sydney, the city’s annual festival of light, music and ideas.

Previously, Vivid LIVE has been curated by luminaries such as Brian Eno, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, but in a departure from guest curators, Linehan and his team have linked the event with the Opera House’s increasing and ”year-round focus” on contemporary music. ”It was a hard call because we’ve gone with high-profile international characters [the past three years], but now it’s very much part of our programming … an extension of what we’re doing,” Linehan says.

One of the acts exciting Linehan, which also represents the switch to Vivid LIVE being curated internally, is Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O in her ”psycho opera” Stop the Virgens.

Created by her with musical direction from bandmate Nick Zinner and producer Sam Spiegel, Stop the Virgens also features 30 local performers, who will join the chorus and locally made stage sets.

”We’ve never gone in and built a show [for Vivid LIVE] and run it for five nights, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this big project with Karen O,” Linehan says.

Other acts building buzz this year are Florence and the Machine and Janelle Monae, while Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Sufjan Stevens have joined forces in a rare collaboration.

“Vivid Sydney is a forum for the creative industries to collaborate, foster business connections and showcase new ideas, and’s participation is a mark of the festival’s standing amongst creative industry leaders worldwide,” said Stoner.

The collaboration will enable the public to ‘play the building,’ using’s music loops and samples whilst simultaneously viewing projections of Sydney artist Justene Williams.

Collectively the fish make up a light work called Follow The Current and were created by architects Cassie Stronach, Alex Dirks and Haidee Ireland with lighting designer Richard Neville, who came up with the idea when pondering how to get involved with this year’s Vivid Light festival, which begins tonight.

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