University of Sydney's shining lights at Vivid 2012

25 May 2012

The dandelions in 'Chromapollination' change colour in response to nearby movement.
The dandelions in 'Chromapollination' change colour in response to nearby movement.

University of Sydney staff and students have been busy in recent weeks building giant dandelion light sculptures for this year's Vivid Sydney festival.

The installation, called Chromapollination, is one of the centrepieces of the Vivid light festival. The interactive light sculpture will transform an otherwise nondescript corner of Circular Quay with giant glowing dandelions projecting colour and motion onto passing pedestrians and festival goers.

The dandelions' flowers change colours in response to the movement of passing pedestrians and trains overhead. The seeds are created by the glowing bulbs of different coloured energy-efficient LEDs. As the seeds mix, they cross-pollinate the dandelions, 'germinating' into new colours.

The work has been devised by faculty staff Martin Tomitsch, Wendy Davis and Warren Julian, in collaboration with students from the Master of Design Science (Illumination Design) and the Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, including Luke Hespanhol, Glen Anderson, Jorge Curtidor, Bettina Easton, Stephanie Fynn, Pablo Lamarca and Haley Laurence.

In the lead-up to the festival the faculty's home, the Wilkinson Building, has been buzzing with students programming LEDs, negotiating with sponsors and festival organisers and tweaking their designs.

The installation is just one example of the close association between the Vivid festival and staff, students and graduates of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. This year, seven works in the Vivid light program are produced by current staff and students or graduates of the faculty.

Dr Wendy Davis, the faculty's director of illumination design, says Vivid is a unique opportunity to showcase the leading work that students and staff at the University are doing in this specialised, but important field.

"It's a presentation of emerging lighting technologies and aesthetic design. Vivid's focus on the intersection of technology and culture makes it a stand-out festival for anyone interested in science and the arts," said Davis.

This year's Vivid Sydney will also present works by architecture student William Chan. William's Palette of Urban Green demonstrates how sustainable design can create engaging public spaces. Using 'upcycled' shipping pallets, his twisting towers create a mirage of light as festival participants move through the installation.

A third work in the festival, Light the Night, is a guerrilla projection installation by Master of Design Science (Illumination Design) students Michael Kellis and James Nagel. They will be moving mobile carts around Circular Quay, projecting graffiti onto public spaces and adding visual interest to otherwise dull city buildings.

Look out for more details about these works, and interviews with Chan, Kellis and Nagel, on this news site throughout the Vivid festival. You can also read more here at the faculty's Vivid minisite.

Vivid Sydney, a festival of lights, music and inspiring ideas, runs each night from 25 May to 11 June. Light works can be seen along Circular Quay's foreshores, from Sydney Opera House all the way to Dawes Point and Walsh Bay.

Event details

What: Vivid Sydney 

When: 25 May to 11 June, after 6pm each night

Where: Circular Quay, Sydney

Cost: Free

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