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 :)

Re:Lux

We’ve now visited the Lux festival three times this week. On Wednesday evening there was some rain about so I headed into the city to try and get some photos of lights and reflections. Unfortunately (for me anyway) the rain was light and didn’t hang around so there wasn’t much in the way of pools of water or wet surfaces. Mid week and quite late there were not a lot of people around so I had plenty of time and space to play with.

Rube

Rube by Ian Hammond, Johann Nortje and BMD

Rube was worth spending some time watching. The artwork painted on the wall was given a storytelling element through the use of projected light and sound with different parts of the art lit up and animated. Even on a quiet night there was a small crowd staring up and watching.

Laces

The Laces by Jamie Roberts and Peter Fraser (WCC Urban Design Team)

Probably my favourite lightwork this year is the Tree labelled The Feast of Lights. As intentioned it is first seen framed by a building down a long laneway. Up close it appears like some otherworldly free grabbed from a James Cameron movie. It’s strange and while alone with it I just stood and watched it, slowly moving around and looking at the interaction with the industrial structure surrounding it.

A lack of water

A lack of water

As mentioned I’d hoped for water to allow for reflections. Above is what I ended up with. Better luck next year maybe?

There was an increased interactive element to many of this years lightworks. Circular Ruins looked like a basic henge or simple pillars of light. With movement from the viewer the pillars became a circular geometric enclosure of light. Trying to capture it on camera involved a lot of experimentation and spinning on the spot.

Pulse

Pulse by Daniel K. Brown and Mark K. Johnson

The photo above is only one side of the Pulse installation. I hope if future years more is done with the underside of the wharfs. On a still night the lights on the water were eerie, especially when combined with a stirring piece of music.

The lightwork Vessels of Light reminded me a miniature Weather Project. I think it’d be good to see in a larger space but the small room made out of shipping containers was intimate and interesting to explore.

Tension

Tension by Angus Muir Design and AJ Design Co.

VS 300

VS 300 by Visual System and Thomas Vaquié

More interaction with the little suns that populated this wall. Playing with light was a popular pastime for the passing crowd.

Aura

Aura by Philips Design

Aura was still a lot of fun and there was much experimentation trying to change the sound and light. The sense that people were creating something new and interesting drew in an audience and everyone wanted to have a turn.

Another night and we decided to visit again with Alayna. While Keryn waited in a queue for food I wheeled Alayna around in her pram. We checked out the glowing night time incarnation of Carrello del Gelato with the added bonus of getting away from the light but cool breeze. By the time we decided we actually wanted to sample some incandescent gelato the queues were long enough that the thought of waiting in the cool wasn’t worth it. Thankfully the souvlaki from the Greek Food Truck was excellent.

Glowing icecream

Glowing icecream

Souvlaki anyone?

Souvlaki anyone?

First facepainting

First face-painting

We took the opportunity to see if Alayna would be interested in face painting. Alayna was a little shy but let the woman paint a small flower on her cheek after first watching Keryn receive her own little artwork. We needed a mirror so Alayna could inspect the flower, instead Alayna was happy to play with the chalk and glowing blocks.

Happy at play

Happy at play

Lets go boating!

Lets go boating!

We came across the wandering Light Swan a few times. It was a challenge to get a decent photo and I was rather obsessed at times, something that didn’t help Keryn or Alayna as they had to stay nearby and pretty much just get cold. I need to learn to be faster :)

Playing with chalk

Playing with chalk

Alayna got to spend some time playing with more glowing chalk and she enjoyed crawling over the boards. She also enjoyed watching the nearby incandescent twister, though I think she mainly wanted to just spin the arrow.

Jelly Bloom

Jelly Bloom by Cameron Brodie, Dylan Cole, Ollie Orme-Dudman, Dani Cunningham, and Sam Bazalo

Inspecting one of many suns

Inspecting one of many little suns

And finally there were the mysterious cats. Aloof and constantly on the move I thought we’d missed a good photo opportunity but then as we were nearly back at the car they appeared walking towards us. Alayna was quite taken with the glowing felines, for their part they glanced our way and continued on their way.

Mysterious cats

Mysterious cats

A glowing profile

A glowing profile

Lux is back

A beautiful and calm winters evening last Friday saw the return of the Wellington Lux festival for 2015. I’d read about a free workshop for creating fairies in a jar so while
Keryn went and signed us up Alayna and I took a quick trip to Moore Wilsons to buy a suitable jar. The workshop was set up in a shipping container at the Lux Festival hub in Odlins Plaza. Constructing fairies in a jar was simple. There were a variety of glow sticks on hand and we selected a couple and then emptied them into the jar followed by a generous amount of glitter. With the jar sealed there was some vigorous shaking and then we were done, a jar filled with sparkly, glowing fairies.

Keryn and Alayna admire their work

Keryn and Alayna admire their work

Looking at the lights of Odlins Plaza

Looking at the lights of Odlins Plaza

We had a good dinner from one of the many food trucks encircling Odlins Plaza and then wandered along the waterfront checking out a few of the Lux installations. Alayna enjoyed walking across a bridge and peaking through the holes in the structure.

Blue Bridge Alayna

Blue Bridge Alayna

The neon bridge (TENSION)

The neon bridge (TENSION)

The Feed the Kids too was being treated as a mini-maze by the passing crowd with a constant stream of people pushing through the strung up lunchboxes. The susurrous made by the constant movement was a background soundtrack punctuated by laughter and giggles as children raced around the central tree.

Watching people wandering through FEED THE KIDS TOO (CAPITAL)

Watching people wandering through FEED THE KIDS TOO (CAPITAL)

We watched a woman walking around wearing an outfit that seemed to resemble a neon deep sea jellyfish, the organic bouncing of the glowing dress adding to the oddness.

Jellyfish girl

Jellyfish girl

We joined a crowd mesmerised by the sights and sounds of Aura. Stepping into the open container individuals would face a glowing speaker on a stand and conduct an orchestra of sound and light by moving their hands in front of the open speaker face. Quiet and delicate, loud and brash, the emanating audio and pulsating glow would change for each different person and their gesticulating.

Staring at the AURA

Staring at the AURA

Conducting the AURA

Conducting the AURA

There were many interactive installations and the Spreading a Little Sun wall have a magnet for those passing by. A wall of miniature suns that were turned on and off by the crowd the warm glow was inviting and drew everyone in (when they could reach it through the pressed mass).

The crowd interacts with SPREADING A LITTLE SUN

The crowd interacts with SPREADING A LITTLE SUN

The last spot for us was the cicle of lights called Circular Ruins. Alayna stood by one of the pillars and touched the lit surface, perhaps trying to figure out what it was. Soon after we were back at the car and then heading home, Alayna quickly asleep after her late night. We’ll be back for another visit.

Alayna inspects one of the CIRCULAR RUINS pillars

Alayna inspects one of the CIRCULAR RUINS pillars