Corner Swanston Street & Flinders Street, Melbourne
“There are numerous lighting festivals throughout the world, and, following The Light in Winter’s first appearance in 2007, they are also springing up in Australia too. But none has quite the magic of this month-long celebration which has warmed the heart of Melbourne; so much so, that winter no longer begins 1 June, but 1 July instead. The secret to its success is a unique combination of commissions from the very best lighting artists in the world and deep connections to the richness of Melbourne’s richly diverse cultural life,” says Robyn Archer.
Rising up from the centre of Federation Square is Helix Tree – a mammoth sculpture of steel and light by renowned lighting designer Bruce Ramus. Inspired by the naturally occurring shape of the helix, the sculpture is constructed from 21 curved steel beams fitted with hundreds of LED lights. Like branches of a tree, the beams spiral 13 metres high into the sky from a central trunk. The Helix Tree uses sound-responsive technology via which voices of Melbourne bring to life its unique and vivid light displays.
Each night at dusk, Melbourne choirs, whose repertoires will include an anthem specially commissioned by Melbourne singer/composer Lou Bennett, will ‘sing up’ the Helix Tree. Following these free performances, the public have their own chance to sing to the sculpture and produce their own spectacle of light.
The Indigenous Campfire Program returns to Leempeeyt Weeyn for fireside performances, workshops and storytelling from local Indigenous practitioners as they connect voice to country through traditional language, stories and song.
An extended Solstice Weekend (20 - 23 June) features the retro playfulness of YO GOBO, and the now traditional and much-loved Solstice Celebration on Saturday 22 June.
The Solstice Celebration is a feast of music, performance and food from more than 20 of Melbourne’s culturally diverse groups including Afghani, Chilean, Mexican and Congolese communities. The evening includes a procession of a thousand handmade lanterns, collaborative performances from the culturally diverse members of Square of Light, and a special en-mass choir performance led by Lou Bennett. The Gift of Light Orchestra is a unique fusion ensemble, borne of The Light in Winter, and it will have people up and dancing in the heart of Melbourne, to welcome the start of the slow return to Spring.
A weekly series of free forums and talks will respond to this year’s interconnecting themes of the helix, the power of the human voice (both literal and metaphoric) and the helix’s profile in natural science. Leading academics, artists, community leaders and prominent public speakers will be part of this series, which includes a forum on the power of the voice in contemporary democracies when fed Square will participate in a live cross to the National Press Club in Canberra.
A laboratory for creative collaboration, The Light in Winter is now in its seventh consecutive year and has developed a lively platform both for the arts of illumination, and the diverse cultural pathways to enlightenment.
The Light in Winter Program:
Helix Tree - 5pm - 7.30pm daily
Leempeeyt Weeyn camp fire - opening ceremony 1 June, closing ceremony 30 June, campfire workshops throughout June
Solstice Weekend - 20 - 23 June
Forums - 4, 11, 18, 25 June
Exhibitions - throughout June
Full program details follow or visit http://www.fedsquare.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Light-in-Winter-2013.pdf