Vivid Sydney is a celebration of ideas and creative industry attracting over 400,000 visitors who come to take in our iconic buildings transformed and surrounded by immersive light sculptures and projection mapping

Stylist Joshua Mason reveals how Vivid Sydney can inspire the way we approach event creative

On Saturday evening last, I donned my winter coat and braved the crowds to experience the power of our creative economy at Vivid Sydney. Now in its fourth year, Vivid Sydney is a celebration of ideas and creative industry attracting over 400,000 visitors who come to take in our iconic buildings transformed and surrounded by immersive light sculptures and projection mapping

The festival is about light, music, ideas and industry. It presents not only a program of unique concerts but seminars, public talks and debates via the new Vivid Ideas Exchange. While I’m off to spend some time with my artistic brethren, below is a wrap-up of the incredible public displays that could well change the perception of how we approach events creative!

Customs House – City Life by The Electric Canvas

By far the standout piece of 3D projection mapping at the festival, City Life transformed the facade of Customs House and tipped our perception, creating a “city within a city”. First we see a bustling city come to life; the ionic columns become city streets, the iconic clock a park fountain, birds and aeroplanes fly overhead. The point of view shifts from overhead to elevation as tall buildings tower over subways, animated characters interact and go about their daily lives. It is this unpredictable quality that The Electric Canvas is well known for, making the often overlooked a veritable dreamscape of ideas that can inspire.

MCA – Motion Collaboration 1 by Justene Williams & Spinifex

One of the more site-specific pieces of the festival, artist Justene Williams in collaboration with Spinifex and our friends over at TDC transformed the museum into a neon fantasia in the flavour of Soviet propaganda art. The egalitarian art deco facade featured the grand communist images of a working machine, neon cogs and toiling labourers. The final sequence featured a myriad of modern art – fractured De Stijl, touches of Magritte bowlers and constructivist paintings intertwine, eventually escaping inside the MCA’s entrance in the finale.

MCA – MCA Lights by Keebz, & Spinifex

One wonders when this projection medium will become tired, at the rate at which technology grows, how do we keep a fresh approach? The answer is intractability. MCA Lights is an interactive display on the brand-new wing of the MCA, a unique collaboration between DJ Keebz,, Spinefex and TDC that uses the building as an instrument. The general public can interact with three on-screen displays using hand gestures in mid-air. These gestures control the content and indeed re-sequence the music, the entire experience shaped around the user’s decisions. If ever we fantasised about the film Minority Report, it seems that technology has caught up.

Sydney Opera House – Lighting The Sails by URBANSCREEN

Coined as a ‘reinterpretation of the sails’, German design collective URBANSCREEN transformed the canvas of our iconic Opera House like never before. Instead of a play-on-light, the work centred around human interactions (albeit giant) on the tiled surface of the great landmark. The sails floated in the breeze then retained solidarity, lifting and bouncing as human figures danced across them. The projection was not only inspiring, it was alive.

Sydney Opera House to Walsh Bay – VIVID Light Sculptures

Whilst taking in the awe-inspiring projection work above, it is highly recommended that you take in the light sculptures that wrap around the harbour. From an illuminated igloo made from plastic water tanks to Brian Thompson’s magnificent chandelier featured in Opera Australia’s La Traviata there is enough here to have you thinking outside the box the next time you approach a creative project.

Lights By Eric Sou via Vivid Sydney Chandelier By Jerry Dohnal via Vivid Sydney Light Installations By James Morgan via Getty Images Pallette_of_Urban_Green By Arielle Morris via Vividsydney

It isn’t any wonder that Vivid Sydney was ranked in the Top Ten global ideas festivals by The Guardian UK. It presents a solid, immersive experience on a unique canvas that can be shared by all who experience it. It just shows you don’t need to spend a penny to be inspired!

Image Credits:  Images credited when available. Unless stated otherwise, no sourced images are owned by us

                            1. Argyle in Bloome: Image by Shrestha Bidur via Vivid Sydney  

                            2.Customs House:  Image by Richard Dicky Simpson via Vivid Syndey

                            3. MCA: Image by Charles Brewer via

                            4. Opera House: Image by Torsten Blackwood via Getty Images

6. Lights: Image by Eric Sou via Vivid Sydney

   7. La Traviata Chandelier: Image by Jerry Dohnal via Vivid Sydney

8. Light installations: Image by James Morgan via via Getty Images

9. Pallette of Urban Green: Image by Arielle Morris via Vivid Sydney


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