Bright White Night

This years’ installment of White Night has come and gone and each year the event improves and is more engaging for different age groups and different interests.

This year‘s event was better planned and simply more fun.  White Night has now been running for three years and, whereas in the previous two years it was impossible to move about, this year the lighting installations were more spaced apart and the crowds spread more evenly across the city.

For families with small children (like mine) this made all the difference. The guides attending events were helpful and it was a joy to visit various installations across a broad area of Melbourne.

There were many people enjoying the event – young adults, older people and tourists aplenty amongst the crowd taking selfies and enjoying the installations. I can’t imagine how many images were uploaded to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

It is impossible to see everything – and who needs to? It is nice to wander and discover different installations in different places around the city.  The entire night felt safe and the weather was perfect for being out and about.

Personally, I enjoyed seeing public buildings that I know well being transformed into something completely different.  It is as though we can see them for the first time again.

I have been to the State Library many times and on February 21 the place was transformed into a light and sound show that projected a show called Eat Me. The Exhibition Buildings was transformed into a fiery display of earth, fire, water and air.  The scale of the projection was amazing and kids reveled in the play of shadows on walls of this much-loved building.

As well as the buildings and places we know, there were also those buildings and places we don’t often get to see – or more the point, we don’t take time to visit.

White Night provided a perfect excuse to visit a church, a laneway and park that we wouldn’t otherwise visit.   

I have before never visited the Cross Culture Church on the corner of Little Lonsdale and Swanston. White Night provided the perfect opportunity and my children and I found the installation En Masse mesmerising.

It wasn’t just me, but so too many other people, sat back enjoying flocks of birds endlessly morph into different configurations across the screen.

Other places were transformed – like the tall interior space of St Paul’s Cathedral.  The rich gothic revival took on an evocative and spiritual presence of a different kind to the one we are used to.

Light patterns, colour and continuous organ music created a dreamy trance-like place for people to relax away from the busy streets.

The area around the Art’s Centre was simply fantastic. Keyframes was fun and funny, Phantoms of the Theatre was clever and scary, Infinite Curves was beautiful.

I never knew one could grow up and become a chemical DJ.  This is what Hicham Berrada essentially is and his projection of different chemical reactions from the contents of a glass jar were projected on screen.

This gave me plenty to talk to my kids about.  At around 6.30am dawn brought it’s own light show and the end of a great experience for Melbourne.

Once Melbourne was a fabled city of grey – but for one night at least it became the perfect backdrop for lots of colour and life.  Next year’s White Night can’t come soon enough and the city will be transformed once more.


Antony Di Mase

is a practising architect at Di Mase Architects. He is currently completing a masters of lighting design at QUT with a focus on daylight design in the built environment. 9482 5144, [email protected]

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