Ideas and Art Aplenty at VIVID 2016
- When 27 May - 18 Jun 2016
What began as a festival of lights in the harbour city of Sydney, has during its seven years of existence, progressively become one of the most significant cultural events in the national calendar. VIVID 2016, opening in late May, features projects presented by UNSW Art & Design staff, students and graduates, and graduates from UNSW Engineering.
This year even VIVID has outdone itself. On offer are talks, exhibitions, movies, live music, and of course, a city centre transformed by a mammoth display of coloured lights.
One big draw card in 2016 is likely to be the Game-Changers talk series, wherein international figures Spike Jonze, director of Being John Malkovich, and Jenji Kohan, creator of Orange is the New Black and Weeds, will be in town for the first time.
Another event of note will be the Big Anxiety Project at the Museum of Contemporary Art (June 5, 3-5pm), presented by the Black Dog Institute and the National Institute for Experimental Arts based at UNSW Art & Design. Hosted by Australian journalist, political commentator, and comedian, Julie McCrossin, and a team of art and mental health experts, this interactive panel session (audience members be prepared to share) will explore our experiences with anxiety: how it feels, how we manage it, and what we think might reduce it.
The wonder of VIVID, however, is that is has something for everyone. And this year Australian designer and lecturer at UNSW Art & Design, Selena Griffith, and four emerging creative practitioners, ask the question, “How can creative thinking and creative outcomes improve the way we live and the choices we make?” Two very different but equally playful light exhibitions are their answer.
The first exhibition, wonderfully titled, I Love You, will be a stage featuring a large electronic heart-shaped backdrop and a single microphone. To be located in the centre of Circular Quay, the display is predicted to be a drawcard for festival-goers. Anyone walking by – couples, singles and groups – will be encouraged to declare their love for each other, for the world, for whatever. The louder the declaration, the greater the illumination of the neon background (and likely the encouragement of observers). Contributing artists include Selena Griffith (UNSW Art & Design lecturer), Edison Chen (UNSW Art & Design graduate), Nila Rezaei (UNSW Art & Design current student), and Nathan Adler (UNSW Engineering graduate).
The second exhibition, Exterminia, to be on display just around the waterfront in Walsh Bay, will be another colourful interactive artwork. This one however, addresses the theme of climate change and the impact that human actions have on the environment, specifically marine habitats and coral reefs. Visitors will be offered the chance to rest on a streamlined bent plywood seat, meant according to creators to be an “abstract interpretation of a sea creature”. The seat and surrounding installation will be luminous prior to to human contact. When a visitor sits down, however, sensors will signal a change and the colours will become diluted. “The longer a person sits,” say the artists, “the more ‘bleaching’ happens’”. To reinvigorate the installation – to bring it back to life – visitors will have to refrain from touching the work. Contributing artists include Selena Griffith (UNSW Art & Design lecturer), Nila Rezaei (UNSW Art & Design current student), and Nathan Adler (UNSW Engineering graduate).
I Love You and Exterminia can be seen from 27 May – 18 June.
See more images of the work in progress at Selena Griffith's instagram.