Cali’s Ultimate Guide to the Best of Vivid 2016

Another year in Sydney, means another year of VIVID. Not only does this event act as a feast for the eyes, but also our souls while it puts a focus on community, togetherness and believe it or not health (you can end up walking around the whole city!). These are three things the team at Cali Press are super passionate about and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love all that glitters. Below we’ve listed the Cali Press top 5 countdown of what we believe to be the best VIVID 2016 attractions.

5. Lighting the Sails ‘Songline’ – Opera House

The eighth year of Vivid Sydney means the eighth time the Opera House sails become a canvas for a lightshow spectacular. Directed by the Head of Indigenous Programming at Sydney Opera House, Rhoda Roberts, co-curated by Sydney Opera House and Destination NSW with Visual content and animation created by Artists in Motion. This year the sails canvas plays host to iconic indigenous contemporary works.

The sails will celebrate a lightshow indicative of Australia’s spiritual and cultural beginnings while six artists of different clans and territories make for a colourful tapestry of projected artwork that weaves through not only distance but also time.


Photo Credit L: Christine Knight R: @elisaeves

4. Sound Bubble – Circular Quay

‘I hate bubbles’, said nobody ever! Imagine a giant, transparent inflatable bubble that holds a sensor riddled artificial brain. As you approach the bubble’s exterior it reacts in a similar fashion accompanied by particles of light and sound effects. So let’s say you run up to the bubble, the bubble will activate thousands of pixel lights in the ceiling and floor which will cause an array of white balls within to glow and dance in colour patterns against a backdrop of synchronised sound.

So what does the bubble do when you’re nowhere near it? It will simply rest in colourful light and sound displays as though it is on ‘screensaver mode’. However, if you approach the bubble in a group, it will respond with an extravagant display of light and music. The artists, Damian Barbeler and John Taylor along with their group of collaborators main interest was to explore the idea of bridging performance, space and audience relationship.

Photo Credit

3. Fountain – Martin Place

A simply breathtaking live sculpture brought to us by collaboration between Ample Projects, S1T2 and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). This we found to be a particularly interesting concept. Let us explain; the global human population will reach its predicted 2016 total of 7.4 billion people and as it does, Fountain will stream global birth rate data as ‘human water droplets’. The ‘human figured’ droplets will take form from the fountain’s water jets, shoot upward, land on their feet and then walk into the distance. How cool!

In a celebration of human nature, the fountain will demonstrate in real time what it means to be alive and in such a beautiful way. The flow of the water is indicative of the never-ending cycle of life; birth, evolution and then a slow fade out and away in this non-stop animation.

Photo Credit L: @sydneysfoodblog R: @janasok


2. Laser Dragon Water Theatre – Darling Harbour 

A theatre brought to us by Oracle-Liquid means the most unreal multimedia water feature you’ll ever see. We’re talking four video projected water-screens, forty 20m-high vertical fountains, sixteen 25m-high moving fountains, twenty-two 15m-high flame jets, and ten lasers. But what’s with the Laser Dragon you ask? A world first! A water screen is mounted on a 13m long robotic arm that floats high above fifty-six fountains! This moving water screen takes many forms but most popular is the fierce dragon.

We think a great way to get the best out of this harborside experience is to head on down to the promenade, pick out a restaurant of choice and enjoy dinner and drinks before and after the show! Laser-Dragon Water-Theatre runs every half hour, the first show is at 6pm and the last show is at 11pm. *BONUS INFO: Vivid Sydney fireworks will take place in Darling Harbour (27 May – 18 June): Wednesdays, Thursdays & Sundays 7pm, Saturdays 8:30pm, Fridays 7pm & 9pm.

1. Cathedral Of Light – Botanical Gardens

Calling all twinklers! If this doesn’t blow your mind, we don’t know what will. This is by far one of the most beautiful and well thought out light installations we think we have ever seen thanks to Mandylights (Richard Neville (United Kingdom)) collaborating along with Daniel Mercer (Australia) / Shane Radcliffe (Australia) / Andy Romanowski (Poland). The archway of light boasts a 70-m long tunnel, illuminated by tens of thousands of LED light globes. Like moths to the flame, the church style fixture draws viewers’ attention from both inside the installation as well as outside.

Being placed in the iconic Botanical Gardens aids in a wonderful illumination of the surroundings when viewed from a distance with the sculpture emitting gentle light outwards from all angles. The artists conceptualise that, just like a strong group or gathering, a vast amount of smaller parts all work together to simultaneously achieve an even stronger, unified output.

And don’t forget to get your photo or GIF taken by PIXTA at the event. 

Photo Credit L: @leffend R: @haydenseyes


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