Lighting the Sails @ Vivid Sydney 2014

Lighting the Sails @ Vivid Sydney 2014

vivid sydney opera house (1)

Vivid Sydney, Australia’s largest annual light festival, starts today for its sixth year and will transform the city night scape with a canvas of immersive and spectacular light installations, live music and talks.

Vivid Sydney is where art, technology and commerce intersect. Vivid Sydney attracted over 880,000 visitors in 2013, of which 11,000 were international visitors.

Vivid Sydney is a unique annual event of light, music and ideas, featuring many of the world’s most important creative industry forums, a mesmerising free public exhibition of outdoor lighting sculptures and installations, a cutting-edge contemporary music program and the spectacular illumination of Sydney’s iconic architecture including the sails of Sydney Opera House.

lighting the sails sydney opera house vivid

In a now annual tradition artists, agencies and collectives are invited to use the sails of the Sydney Opera House as a digital canvas – resulting in world-leading illuminated artworks by the likes of Brian Eno (UK) 2009 , Laurie Anderson (USA) 2010 , Superbien (France) 2011URBANSCREEN (Germany) 2012 , The Spinifex Group (AUS) 2013, and for this year, the award-winning international artists 59 Productions.

Vivid LIVE commissioned award-winning international artists 59 Productions to create a new projected artwork for the sails of the Sydney Opera House, Vivid LIVE’s most public event.

For the 2014 edition of Vivid ” lighting the Sails” at the Sydney Opera House 59 Productions are doing a three-part story about the Opera House, how it was conceived and built.

The Opera House will grow fur, feathers, scales, and it will turn into molten lava.

sydney opera house vivid live

”In the decade since their inception, 59 Productions’ work has included the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the Broadway and West-End record-breaker War Horse, the international exhibition phenomenon David Bowie is, and the acclaimed Go Live world tour for Sigur Rós’ front-man Jónsi.

Lauded for developing ‘the most sophisticated use of film in the theatre to date’ (Metro) and creating ‘an entirely new art form’ (The Guardian), 59 Productions will now take the iconic building on a dramatic journey through time – from the birth of architecture and civilization through to the pinnacle of human and technological achievement.

59 Productions (UK/USA/Sydney)

Creative Director Leo Warner

Producer Richard Slaney

Animation Zsolt Balogh / Jarek Radecki / Nicol Scott

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vivid sydney opera house (4)

Leo Warner commented ….   “Our work for the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, was watched live by audiences of over one and a half billion people, and we have faced challenges from animating the painterly works of master artists through to creating live films on stage.  However, Sydney has posed us an entirely new challenge: that of bringing an entire building to life, and making it stand out against one of the world’s most spectacular skylines.”

Combining technology and art to tell amazing stories, the company is poised to follow these groundbreaking works with an ambitious new piece, writ large on one of the most distinctive architectural structures in the world.

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The Sydney Opera House, Vivid LIVE’s most public event, will mark the start of the festival and will light up from 6pm to midnight until June 9.


About 59 Productions

vivid live 2014

Leo Warner

“Let’s melt some opera houses !”


Over the last decade, 59 Productions has established itself as a heavyweight collaborator on a range of theatre, opera, fine art, dance and film projects.

The company is based in London (with an office in New York), and as well as ongoing shows in the West End and Broadway, currently has over a dozen touring and repertory productions in theatres internationally including in Japan, China, Australia, Korea and North America.

59 productions

As well as providing creative and design services, 59 also has a dedicated research and technical programme which develops practical solutions to help realize new and exciting possibilities in performance.

59 is one of the few companies in the world who take this holistic approach, focusing not just on what a show might look like, but also on how it can be technically delivered.

59 is currently developing it’s own “solo” productions and projects exploring ways in which technology and art can be combined to tell amazing stories.


About Leo Warner

leo warner

Leo is one of the founding directors of 59 Productions – one of the world’s leading companies specializing in video and projection design for stage and live event environments.

Since co-founding the company in 2006, Leo and the 59 team have taken leading creative roles on more than 100 shows across the world at venues including The Royal Opera House, The National Theatre, The Royal Court, The Young Vic, English National Opera, The Metropolitan Opera (New York) and theatre festivals in Salzburg, Berlin and Avignon.

In 2012, Leo led the 59 team that provided the video design and content for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

He worked with Danny Boyle to realise the Oscar-winning director’s vision, art-directing the video content for all video display systems in the Olympic stadium (including the vast stadium-wide “audience pixel” seat-mounted LED fixtures), and overseeing production by 59’s twenty-strong team of animators, filmmakers, graphic artists and technicians.


Leo has personally undertaken the set and production design for many of these projects, including for Go Live in 2010, and the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters in New York and Philadelphia in 2011.

He has also co-directed a number of shows with Katie Mitchell, developing a cinematic-quality live-video process, which has formed the cornerstone to a series of award-winning collaborations across Europe since 2007, many of which remain in repertory in Germany and France today.

2013 saw 59’s first major debut in the museum world with the opening of David Bowie Is at the V&A in London, with the company leading both the creative design and the technical execution of the whole project, which has since toured internationally.

Complementing the company’s “live” work, 59 has an active slate of live action and animated films, including a feature film in development with Film4.

The company’s last two shorts, A Family Portrait and The Pub were both Oscar long listed and between them have appeared in almost a hundred festivals worldwide.

As well as joining creative teams in a video-specific role, the company has also led and produced projects including the world tour of the acclaimed Go Live, a rock show for Icelandic singer Jónsi (of Sigur Ros’ fame).


About Richard Slaney

richard slaney

Richard Slaney is one of the Creative Directors at 59 Productions, specialising in interaction and digital design, as well as consultancy on digital strategy for arts organisations.

Current projects include Digital Revolution, a new exhibition of digital creativity opening at the Barbican in July 2014 and a new video experience for visitors to the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon

Before joining 59 Productions, Richard was the Head of Digital for the Philharmonia Orchestra (London) and Managing and Creative Director of Rite Digital, a digital production company owned by the Philharmonia.

Richard’s work and vision was integral in shaping the Philharmonia’s digital innovation and it is this philosophy he brings to his work at 59 Productions.

A music graduate, Richard’s previous projects include PLAY.orchestra; producing the Philharmonia’s Video Podcast series; and bespoke websites and films. In establishing the digital department at the Philharmonia Orchestra, Richard aimed to use technology to allow audiences closer than ever to the heart of the orchestra in unique interactive way.

Together with Esa-Pekka Salonen, Richard devised and created RE-RITE, the Philharmonia’s interactive audio-visual installation, which won two Royal Philharmonic Society Awards in 2010 and which has toured worldwide.

The success of RE-RITE inspired another installation with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia, Universe of Sound: The Planets. Based on Holst’s The Planets Suite, this installation premiered at the Science Museum, London as part of the Cultural Olympiad festival in 2012, and was also released on Blu-ray and DVD. Universe of Sound won the 2012 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for ‘Audiences and Engagement’ with the judges citing the project as having “provided a thrilling interactive experience for all ages.”

Richard also led the Philharmonia and Rite Digital’s involvement in a collaboration on The Orchestra, an iPad application that aims to reinvent the orchestra for a new audience, released in 2012 to critical acclaim.

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