Each year an artist of international renown is commissioned to create an original artwork for projection onto the Sydney Opera House that captures the spirit of the iconic landmark
Austral Flora Ballet
BEMO (United States)
Artist: Andrew Thomas Huang (United States) with BEMO (United States)
Each year an artist of international renown is commissioned to create an original artwork for projection onto the Sydney Opera House that captures the spirit of the iconic landmark recognised as the cultural epicentre of Australia.
This year, Los Angeles-based Andrew Thomas Huang is the torch-bearer entrusted with the Lighting of the Sails. The Chinese-American visual artist and filmmaker is admired as much for his sci-fi suffused artworks as for creating music videos for the likes of Björk, Sigur Rós and Thom Yorke in which bodies, objects and nature morph, intertwine and dispel in hallucinogenic fantasies.
Huang’s Austral Flora Ballet is a hypnotic fusion of contemporary dance and motion-capture technology that brings our botanic wonders to life as never seen before. Together with choreographer Toogie Barcelo and the animation design team at Bemo in Los Angeles, Huang crafts a lush spectacle from such beloved floral gems as the New South Wales waratah, kangaroo paws and red beard orchids, all of which have enormous connection for First Nations peoples to their country, story and dance. Australia’s unique native plant species have inspired the animated shapes, colour palette and textures in this magnificent otherworldly opus.
Huang and Barcelo worked with dancer Genna Moroni to generate fluid arabesques in direct response to the sensuous arcs and rhythms of the Sydney Opera House Sails. Produced by dancing on a motion capture stage in front of projected images of the building, Barcelo’s choreography physically embodies the world-recognised silhouette.
The result is a ‘ballet’ of dazzling floral avatars that bloom with human movement across the Sails of Sydney Opera House. Huang’s new piece underscores the connection between the human body, architecture and the natural world through the lens of Australia’s botanical treasures.
Country represented by installation: United States