Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Royal Botanic Garden Sydney (enter via Queen Elizabeth II Gates)
Australia

Dancing Grass at Royal Botanic Gardens

Details

There’s nothing like a walk in nature… especially during Vivid Sydney when you can wander through 15 light installations in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney with the city skyscape and harbour as sparkling backdrops.

This year, a world of hypercolour visions beckons as you enter the Royal Botanic Garden through the Queen Elizabeth II Gates, near the Man O'War Steps by the Opera House. Your first close encounters with creativity have a space-age bent. Empyrean by Mandylights is a jewel-like light structure that explores the correlation between cosmic events and the mechanical workings of the human brain. KA3323 is a retro-futuristic satellite dish overgrown with alien plant matter that seems to have mysteriously landed in the Botanic Garden. The brain-child of a father and son team, this interactive light contraption encourages viewers to look beyond the night sky and wonder what secrets lie beyond the stars. Further afield, you’ll come across Circa, a light sculpture stretching over 33 metres that represents the circannual cycle of light levels on the earth's surface, across a day, month and year. The Light Teleportal comprises two otherworldly spires that could be ancient technology unearthed or the remnants of an alien race left here aeons ago after a mission to explore the galaxy. Stand before one of the portals and use movement to reveal ancient cryptic language. Collaborate and link both portals for an immersive visual experience.

While some installations look from our tiny blue sphere to other worlds, others consider the beauty of humanity here on Earth. Playing on the theme of e-waste, Consumable charges us with recycling and preserving the planet. The space cube We Are One plays on The Seeker’s lyrics ‘We are one, but we are many / And from all the lands on Earth we come…’, using supersize letters, complex colour theory and eight beam units to trick the viewer’s eye and celebrate multiculturalism. Symphony invites us to come together for an interactive celebration of light, sound and community. Join friends, family and fellow festival goers to strike a chord and make the bowls ‘sing’ in unison, creating the full spectrum of tones and colour. Marvel as sound and light builds to a crescendo before the cycle begins again.

The inclusive and accessible interactive adventures continue as you come upon Beetopia, a touch sensitive light installation that shares the buzz around the growing trend of bee hotel keeping. Jungle Boogie gives you an opportunity to play a giant, interactive musical instrument together. Touch the keys to activate the central psychedelic forest scene. The more people play, the more spectacular it becomes. In the form of an interactive tree, Harmony has six spiralling elements that can be played by audience members. When all six are triggered at once, a mesmerising finale is activated. This expression of synchronicity celebrates the ideal that a community of individuals can live as one. Torus echoes reflections of sound in space. Creators Chimera Atelier and Paul Peña Castro were inspired by the Fibonacci sequence and ever-spiralling patterns in nature. By beating luminous drums, visitors activate the sculpture turning it into an immersive musical instrument. Watch as your sound waves move light across Torus. In I Hear You (But Do You Hear Me?), an array of LED light poles generates a space between two people. Use your voices to trigger light and sound, and a colourful ‘conversation’ unfolds before your eyes.

In the enchanted forest of the Royal Botanic Garden, there’s a sense that nature becomes uber-natural. You might feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland as you weave your way through giant blades of Dancing Grass, cruise along a River of Light and marvel at an aerial ballet of 500 tiny light points in the shimmering Firefly Field. Take your time to enjoy these innovative illuminated artworks that reflect and refract both light and creativity.

As you admire and interact with the works, take a moment to consider the artistry and collaborations involved in creating each one. Now, imagine what your own future light sculpture might be. That combination of awe, appreciation and inspiration makes Vivid Light a truly enlightening experience.

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