LUX Light Festival 2017

After a hiatus in 2016 the LUX festival was reconfigured and back lighting up the Wellington night for 2017. Starting earlier in the year meant that the installations were powered up earlier in the evening which allowed us to attend with Alayna at a reasonable hour which was a bonus. The works were divided into precincts which was a logical progression and overall the organisation seemed improved on previous years, for instance having two areas set up with food trucks reduced the queues and the crowds.

We attended as a family twice and invited along some of Alayna’s friends and their families and this helped give the visits some variety. Both times we started with some food and then facepainting before setting out to explore the installations beginning with the Playground precinct.

Control No Control by Studio Iregular was a firm favourite and probably my pick for best installation. A large cube with a changing roster of lighting effects linked interactions. Touching the walls caused the effects to change and with plenty of space a large number of people could interact at the same time. Fun to play with and fun to watch it set a very high bar.

CONTROL NO CONTROL - STUDIO IREGULAR https://www.lux.org.nz/control-no-control

CONTROL NO CONTROL – STUDIO IREGULAR

CONTROL NO CONTROL - STUDIO IREGULAR https://www.lux.org.nz/control-no-control

CONTROL NO CONTROL – STUDIO IREGULAR

The little lion

Our little lion enjoying herself with Control No Control

The nearby Social Sparkles by Studio Toer was also interesting with suspended lights like hyperactive little fireflies following people as they moved below. Alayna for some reason wasn’t interested at all in this installation, perhaps the nearby sights and sounds of Control No Control were simply more engaging for a 3 (nearly 4) year old.

SOCIAL SPARKLES - STUDIO TOER https://www.lux.org.nz/socialsparkles

SOCIAL SPARKLES – STUDIO TOER

Capital-E had a couple of shipping containers set up with things to do. One had a sort of VR action game where hand movements influenced (rather than controlled) geometric shapes in front of a large face displayed on large screens. Of more interest to Alayna and her friends was the Electro Jungle where a black light lit container contained fantastical beasts and a forest which could be drawn on using glowing chalk. As with the last LUX there was also an area on the waterside path set aside for glow-in-the-dark chalk activities but it was much warmer (if cramped) in the container.

Alayna enjoying drawing on the walls of the electro Jungle with her friend.

Alayna enjoying drawing on the walls of the Electro Jungle with her friend.

Black light friends

Black light friends

Nearby was a totem-like installation named St Elmo’s Fire Tree created by Nelson local Anthony Genet. Four chaotic balls of fluorescent tubes sparked to life in glowing red. When the wind was blowing strong the straps helping to keep the piece in place would thrum adding to the almost ritual feeling of the piece.

ST ELMO'S FIRE TREE - ANTHONY GENET https://www.lux.org.nz/st-elmos

ST ELMO’S FIRE TREE – ANTHONY GENET

Walking on to the Te Ao Mārama Precinct there were a couple of highlights. Tane Te Wānanga by Hemi MacGregor & Mara TK was a giant waterscreen in the middle of the lagoon which was captivating to watch and the amphitheatre seating at the edge of the lagoon made this a perfect spot to sit and take in the projections. Geometric shapes and dancers appeared and moved set to music and sounds while the wind through the water screen changed the size and intensity of the projection.

TANE TE W?NANGA - HEMI MACGREGOR & MARA TK https://www.lux.org.nz/tanetewananga

TANE TE WĀNANGA – HEMI MACGREGOR & MARA TK

Neaby was another intriguing installation. Kaokao by Bob Jahnke. Two large Xs side to side and with red neon tubes enclosed in glass were striking from a distance and then close up the internal reflections made the neon appear to duplicate to infinity. It gave the piece a hidden depth and led to many people wandering around trying to figure out the optical illusion. I played around with shutter speeds and manual zooming to give an added effect to some of my photos.

KAOKAO - BOB JAHNKE https://www.lux.org.nz/kaokao

KAOKAO – BOB JAHNKE

KAOKAO - BOB JAHNKE https://www.lux.org.nz/kaokao

KAOKAO – BOB JAHNKE (with added zoom)

We also happened to see the returning Lux Cats near Kaokao. First featured in 2015 these cats wandered around the Lux precincts in mysterious fashion. They happened to stop nearby and just stood there, occasionally turning there heads and appearing to stare at people. After a period of time and with no warning they started walking again, very enigmatic.

Light cats

Light cats

The Circus Precinct took in Civic Square and the City to Sea bridge and was our next destination. To one side of the bridge in the grass space fronting the Michael Fowler Centre there was an installation called Passing Me By created by Christopher Welch & Makers Fabrication. For a static piece this one was quite playful. If you stood in one place it was simply a wall with different colours glowing under the black lights. If you walked in parallel to the work the colours changed with the change in perspective. Many people were just standing and staring without realising how fun it was to view while moving and try to figure out what was going on.

PASSING ME BY - CHRISTOPHER WELCH & MAKERS FABRICATION https://www.lux.org.nz/passingmeby

PASSING ME BY – CHRISTOPHER WELCH & MAKERS FABRICATION

Then on to the big display projected onto the council building. Circus of Light by Ocubo was a circus illustrated in an animated cutout style and involved a variety of animals performing (generally lame) tricks and most often failing in an unamusing fashion. Alayna summed it up for me when she asked after a few minutes “when does the real show start?”. It was pretty but overall for me and Alayna just boring. Plenty of other people seemed to find it enjoyable. The artists and acrobats entertaining between screenings were much more fun to watch.

CIRCUS OF LIGHT - OCUBO https://www.lux.org.nz/circus-of-light

CIRCUS OF LIGHT – OCUBO

Civic Square hula hoop

Civic Square hula hoop

Also found in Civic Square and then wandering around the festival were a pair of woman wearing Little Sun solar light dresses promoting the Little Sun project. Again this was a return from 2015 where there was a static installation of Little Suns displayed on a grid and it was good to see them back in a different form.

Little Sun solar light dresses

Little Sun solar light dresses

I was hoping for a night of rain during the festival but this didn’t happen during any of my visits. I like to photograph the reflections and reflected glow of the installations and I think the work Drawn by Lisa Munnelly & Angus Donaldson would have become even more interesting in those circumstances. Pretty much just some net curtains drapped over a large lightbox Drawn was interesting to watch when there was a wind blowing, the interferance patterns created by the fabric covered light were mesmerising at times.

DRAWN - LISA MUNNELLY AND ANGUS DONALDSON https://www.lux.org.nz/drawn

DRAWN – LISA MUNNELLY AND ANGUS DONALDSON

Near Drawn was Augmented Geometries by Erica Sklenars, another projection mapping work. I liked the contrast with the grafetti covered wall below and the sequence was a lot more interesting (albeit on a smaller scale) that something like the Circus of Light.

AUGMENTED GEOMETRIES - ERICA SKLENARS https://www.lux.org.nz/copy-of-imperial-ghosts

AUGMENTED GEOMETRIES – ERICA SKLENARS

My other favourite installation was Into the Underscore by Anita Dykes. A series of light emiting hoops suspended between buildings off Opera House Lane the colours and sequenced noises created an interesting if slightly disquietning show. Many people would approach and stand underneath mesmerised and looking like they would be transported up and away to some alien spaceship. This would have been another piece that would have looked great in the rain with reflections but the most I got was a section of hoops reflected in a tiny puddle.

INTO THE UNDERSCORE - ANITA DYKES https://www.lux.org.nz/into-the-underscore

INTO THE UNDERSCORE – ANITA DYKES

INTO THE UNDERSCORE - ANITA DYKES https://www.lux.org.nz/into-the-underscore

INTO THE UNDERSCORE – ANITA DYKES

INTO THE UNDERSCORE - ANITA DYKES https://www.lux.org.nz/into-the-underscore

INTO THE UNDERSCORE – ANITA DYKES, using the zoom technique again

Stretching Light by Joshua & Sam Lewis was a suspended lightwork above Opera House Lane. A number of neon strings navigating through a series of geometric frames it was diverting and an interesting addition to the laneway.

STRETCHING LIGHT - JOSHUA LEWIS & SAM LEWIS https://www.lux.org.nz/stretching-light

STRETCHING LIGHT – JOSHUA LEWIS & SAM LEWIS

Over the road above just past the entrance to Eva Street was The Light Launder by Rayzordoll. A larger than life washing line with suspended linen was used as a medium to project slides of family memories. Eva Street is now home to a number of light installations that had their beginnings in past Lux festivals so it’s always interesting to have a look around.

THE LIGHT LAUNDER - RAYZORDOLL https://www.lux.org.nz/thelightlaunder

THE LIGHT LAUNDER – RAYZORDOLL

So that’s a selection from this years LUX festival. I’m looking forward to the next one already and in the meantime there is a new light event planned for the Hutt Valley taking place later this year. The more the merrier I say :)

Zoo portraits

Keryn and I are now zoo crew members with Alayna getting to visit for free until she gets to her 3rd birthday. On a cool and showery Sunday we visited the zoo and checked out (and were checked out by) the occupants. With every visit Alayna is getting more and more engaged and this time she had a good time watching the chimpanzees getting some lunch and the very active cheetah. The otter brothers were also a favourite, diving underwater while Alayna watched from the glass view port. The longest and most enthusiast speech I’ve heard from Alayna took place later that day at home when I asked her about the zoo and she told me about the chimpanzees cuddling and eating their apples and (other stuff I didn’t quite understand but it was really exciting!) :) .

Got to chew first

Got to chew first

Under the rock

Little blue penguins sheltering under a rock

Preening

Preening

The friendly centipede

The friendly centipede

Red Panda youngster

Red Panda youngster

The cheetah stare

The cheetah stare

Center of attention

Center of attention

Orange for lunch

Orange for lunch

A foreign visitor

A foreign visitor

Recycled drums

Recycled drums

Otter sandwich

Otter sandwich

Watching / watched

Watching / watched

Visiting Wellington Zoo

Alayna is fast becoming a fan of the natural world and becomes quite entranced with animals. Our cats are definitely a focus of attention and when there are birds outside Alayna will sit and watch with interest. When we visit Zealandia its obvious that Alayna is getting more and more interested in the fauna and flora. We’ve been to the zoo previously and Alayna wasn’t that fussed so we thought we’d take another visit and see what happened.

Cotton Top Tamarin in the sun

Cotton Top Tamarin in the sun

It was a beautiful warm and sunny Saturday morning and the zoo was full of happy people and comfortable animals. We paid a visit to Tahi and the other kiwi and then were soon walking past the tamarin enclosure. Alayna was happy watching a tamarin lying in the sun but was more interested in her current favourite animal, a duck. The nearby pelican also drew her eye “duck duck duck!”.

Feeding time

Feeding time

With Alayna’s interest in our cats we made sure to visit the tiger enclosure for the feeding and keeper talk. Alayna can say cat but more often will just make a meowing noise instead and the first sight of the tiger got her loudly meowing and making the odd growing noise. The talk interesting and the young female tiger was eager for her tidbits of food as she stretched up against the fence, dwarfing the keeper.

The giraffe stare

The giraffe stare

Getting aquainted

Getting acquainted

The giraffe proved to be somewhat less interesting though I’d like to return one day for the feeding, I think Alayna would find a giraffe pulling a leafy branch with its tongue hilarious (or perhaps frightening, but I’ll hedge my bets on hilarious).

Looking at the flora

Looking at the flora

There were a few stops to inspect leaves and flowers. There is less grabbing and more pointing these days and Alayna especially likes to see and study movement, possibly from watching the often blustery wind at home blowing through what few small trees we have in our front yard.

Lizard in the sun

Lizard in the sun

In the new meet the locals Australia area Alayna liked seeing a Tasmanian devil shuffling around its area and then took interest in a lizard sunning itself. I was hoping we’d see the emu close up as when we last visited but it appears they may have been moved out of the public area.

Watching from the shadows

Watching from the shadows

The meercats proved a favourite even if they were just moving slowly around rather than really bustling with the madcap hijinks that can sometimes be seen. It was around midday and rest seemed to be the preferred state for the majority of the meercats we could see.

Happy at the chimp house

Happy at the chimp house

Relaxing

Relaxing

At the chimpanzee area we good to see a distant view of a baby chimp born the previous day. The mother was protective and took a high spot to relax with her new arrival. Most of the rest of the chimps were also relaxing, taking in the welcome heat.

Bright yellow

Bright yellow

Alayna stayed interested and happy well past her usual sleep time which was a good sign of enjoyment I think. WE had some lunch at the zoo cafe and Alayna was quite content to play with in the kids area with the building blocks that were strewn around. I’m pretty sure we’ll be signing up for annual memberships at the zoo in the coming years.

Earl & Alayna (with a side of apple)

Our cat Cadbury is still quite wary of Alayna but our other cat Earl is coming around to the idea that we have a new family member after only 9 months. The change in opinion may have something to do with the fact that Earl is on a diet and he hangs around looking for food but I prefer to think that he is just accepting (so long as Alayna doesn’t get too close for too long and doesn’t do anything like grab too hard). So here we have some of today’s interactions between our excited little girl with the cat obsession and our Earl who is getting over his little girl phobia.

Earl eye view, what is there to be afraid about?

Earl eye view, what is there to be afraid about?

That's a look of love, not obsession

That’s a look of love, not obsession

Friends

Friends

Reading about cats in the company of Earl

Reading about cats in the company of Earl

In addition to working on her social interactions Alayna is also being introduced to new foods. Feeding Alayna is an adventure with her tastes varying day by day. One day she’ll happily eat something and then it’ll be unacceptable for the next week. This is apparently quite normal, one of those many things we learn as parents I guess. Anyway, Alayna has been eating various fruit for a while now but has only recently been feeding herself when given slices. She happily munches her way through the slice, occasionally gagging when she bites off a too big chunk (we let Alayna sort herself out with a helping pat on the back) but also makes wonderful faces as she munches. We think its probably the tartness.

Apple eating

Apple eating

Penny Cat

Penny isn’t doing so well up in Whangarei, she’s been at the vet for a few days now and has thyroid problems. Hopefully the vets will sort her out and she’ll be back at home with Keryn’s parents soon. Here are a few Penny photos from happier days.

IMG 3666Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Relaxing

IMG 3613Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Hunting

IMG 3586Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Watching

Get well soon Penny cat!

A week of rain

The last few weeks have been pretty wet, though thankfully the Wellington region has been largely free of the flooding occurring in other parts of New Zealand. We’ve been getting out a little bit and went in to town one cold and wet evening to see Mel Parsons play at Bats Theatre. Bats is a small venue with only 90 odd seats but due to a steep rack there are no bad seats. While waiting for doors we had a drink in Wellington smallest bar which consists of a none too large room with a small bar at one end and a few small tables. It was cosy and warm, perfect while hiding from the rain outside. The gig was good, Mel Parsons a very confident performer and the music, being pop with more than a little country and folk in the mix, suited the intimate nature of the venue.

IMG 9153Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Mel Parsons with Jess Chambers and members of the Rhythm Kings on backing vocals

IMG 9173Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A happy ending

Sam and Jules came around for a late lunch on the Saturday and we had good food, great company and got to use the dining table for the first time since moving. It was a good afternoon.

This last week I got out a couple of times to take photos around sunset. The first time the sun wasn’t visible setting but I found a good place for future shots and still managed to get some nice photos. It was a still evening and I wandered around the Te Onepoto Peninsula just north of Titahi Bay, finding a path that followed a ridge down to some wild looking beaches.

IMG 9194Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Some colour in the sky just after sunset

IMG 9195Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A calm evening

Last night we were back in town, easting a good mean as Ernestos before heading to the San Francisco Bathhouse for a concert. Anika Moa was playing and the opening act was Nightchoir. Nightchoir were good, though the vocals got lost in the mix for those of us standing at front of stage. Anika Moa was her usual awesome self, she and her band playing great music and Anika’s humour and up front nature coming out for some hilarious banter. Anika is always good value; I’d love to see Anika and Rosie Thomas on the same bill, the crowd wouldn’t know what was happening.

MG 9223Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Mike Hall of Nightchoir

MG 9257Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Anika Moa

MG 9281Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Always ready for fun

MG 9339Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Tune up

Which left today and as we haven’t seen the cats on the blog recently here is Earl, very grateful that not all the packing paper has been put away.

MG 9377Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Earl likes paper

A month around Wellington

So, we’ve been in Wellington a while now and we’ve been checking out our new home region. We’ve been up to Otaki for some Icebreaker factory shop loving and along the way took a few back roads. We found a view along the Kapiti coast so took a few photos:

IMG 0722Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking towards Kapiti Island

Keryn’s parents flew down from Whangarei and bought two of our cats down with them. Cadbury, Earl and Penny have been up near Whangarei for 8 years and we’ve pinched back Cadbury and Earl to come live with us in Epuni. They’re taking the relocation cautiously so far, Earl having what seemed to be a few panic attacks yesterday but they’re acting better today.

IMG 0807Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Cadbury

IMG 0815Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Earl

My parents were also here for the weekend and on Saturday we went to Catherine’s place for a pancake lunch. Afterwards we went for a drive down past Seatoun (well not really, actually it was more like Lyall Bay, at least I didn’t call Petone Porirua this time) and I got to take some photos. On Sunday I went with Keryn and her parents for a walk and we ended up driving up the hill that leads to Wainuiomata. At the lookout we could see mountains of the South island so I convinced everyone that we needed to get a closer look and we drove again to the south coast of Wellington and I took more photos. The sea was very calm and the sunset muted but still pretty.

IMG 0844Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Pink light on distant peaks

IMG 0849Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Interesting underwater landscape

Today I suggested another late afternoon drive and this saw Keryn and I drive past Wainuiomata along the Coast Road to the beach where the Wainuiomata River meets the sea. It was windier today but the sky was almost perfectly clear and the view to the South island was unimpeded. We had a good walk along the beach, giving the leg muscles a good work out traipsing over the stones and sand.

IMG 0865Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Movement in the sea

IMG 0873Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The sun sets over the hill

IMG 0880Photo by Brendon & Keryn

The water rushes back to the sea

IMG 0884Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Looking towards the mountains near Kaikoura

On the return I also took some photos of the lights of Wellington and Petone.

IMG 0895Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Wellington and Matiu (Somes) Island

IMG 0896Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Seaview and Petone

Africa is still coming…for now a quick Australia and NZ update

So I still haven’t written much of anything about the last week or so in Africa…hopefully in the next few days. We’ve had a great time in Australia staying with Steve and Chris in Melbourne. Plenty of shopping and a bit of tourist activity with a couple of days driving along the Great Ocean Road West and South of Melbourne (very rugged and beautiful). We spent time with my sister Catherine and my brother Richard and his girlfriend Jenna and generally enjoyed ourselves.

Now we’re in New Zealand, staying up near Whangarei with Keryn’s parents and her brother Travis and his English girlfriend Sophie (it’s actually nice to hear an English accent again, I think I’m used to England as home now). We’ve been reacquainted with our cats who have now mostly spent more time with the parents than us and seem to double in size every time we see them again (the last time was a couple of years ago). Keryn also bumped into her old friend Sonja while we were shopping this afternoon, it was nice to catch up.

Keryn and Sonja at The Warehouse in Whangarei.
Keryn and Sonja at The Warehouse in Whangarei

So, that leaves time for a few more photos. Here our the cats: Penny was with Keryn before I met her, Cadbury and Earl we obtained while living in Hamilton and Mufti is a Bainbridge family cat and the elder of the four having turned 16 last week. All of these photos were taken with a new lens I bought in Melbourne, a 50mm lens that is very light and is good for portraits and the like. It lets me get a bit closer than the lens I have already and so far I like the results.

Penny.
Penny

Cadbury.
Cadbury

Earl.
Earl

Mufti.
Mufti

Up in Whangarei

Hello,

We have installed ourselves in Whangarei safely – there’s still a lot of redistribution of boxes and other stuff but it should be easy from here. The cats survived the trip well enough, no real complaints. They seem to have adapted to the new environment no problem. We took them for a bush walk this morning and they had a ball of a time. Earl takes spontaneous sprints every now and again, I don’t think he knows what to do with all the space.

I got my UK Ancestry visa by courier on Saturday morning so I’m all set, we just need Keryn’s now. I’m getting her to fax the British High Commission today – they don’t seem to respond to anything else.

Paul – the address here is:
PO Box 422
Whangarei

To everyone that helped in some way, thank you. To those we didn’t get to say goodbye to, goodbye ;-) We’ll catch up again when we get back in a few years, if not sooner.

That’s all for now,
Brendon and Keryn