Lightscape 2022

My wife and I decided to live a little and attend an exhibition in the city (we don't get out very often) called Lightscape, this was an exciting exhibition which was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and ran from the 24th of June through to the 7th of April 2023 (although it is reported to be returning in 2023). Lightscape is created in partnership with Sony Music, and the major sponsor was Red Energy.

The exhibition occurred at night, and once at the site, you walked through a predefined 1.7km path (one way) through the royal botanic gardens, experiencing several different light installations throughout the 1.7km. During our visit, it was raining slightly at the start but eased off fairly quickly which was good for us (and the hundreds of other visitors who attended at our session time). I could not resist taking my camera, sadly you were not able to use tripods or monopods (for safety reasons) so excuse the noise as these images may not be the sharpest as they were handheld and shot in darkness without a flash.

As you walk through the site, other than seeing lots of trees that had been lit up in various colours, one of the many exhibitions you see is a range of projected patterns/art on the walking path (below).

In addition to the art projected onto the walking path, the National Herbarium of Victoria was also lit up, with images being projected onto the facade of the building.

One of the most fascinating exhibitions was a series of trees or flowers which were set up in a field each lit up with its own lights, over time the color of each of these lights changed. This was a fairly popular place for people to take images of the installation as well as themselves in front of the installation.

One of my favourite installations was a laser beam that projected down the walking path (well above eye level) with a spectrum of different colors. At different points along this beam, there were smoke/fog generators that created the appearance of clouds within the beam.

Down towards the lake was another installation, in addition to the trees which had been lit up, there was also a floating structure with candles on it.

Within some of the fields was a light installation that was rather reminiscent of the ‘Field of Lights', in this installation were hundreds of little balls which changed colors. The changing of these colors, as well as the lights turning on and off created a fairly interesting light show which also proved popular.

Beyond the little lights, at the lake there were also large lights that lit up some of the trees on an island in the lake, these lights changed color over time creating some rather interesting effects.

There were several other installations throughout the event, the images below were of flowers which I assume to be poppies that had been lit up red and hung above those who were walking below them through the path.

One of the most popular installations was the “Winter Cathedral” which was an archway that was reported to be made up of some 100,000 tiny flower lights that you walked through. This was also extremely popular as you can see by some of the images I have included with some people to give an idea of how many people were walking through the exhibit.

Walking through the gardens, you reach the boardwalk / elevated walk section which was turned into this strange laser forest thing. If not for the beams of light it almost looked like fireflies in that space, occasionally with fog being generated and some ambient music playing.

Walking towards the end of the exhibit there are a number of other installations you pass, including what looks like a DNA helix (although that could just be my science background talking), a large tree that had lighting running a fair way up into the branches, and finally, at the end of the path, there was a projection on the Observatory Building.

I thought the event was really interested and enjoyed it (weather aside at the start of the trip). If I had any criticism it would be that the event was too popular, often there were projections on the floor which were hard to see because there were so many people at the event walking the pathway. There was no opportunity to stray from the path (as there were staff guiding people) which wasn't a bad thing, but there were so many people that during most of the installations you heard someone yelling if you are taking pictures keep to the left, people passing keep to the right.

It also meant that getting photos either of yourself near an exhibition, or the installation itself was near next to impossible because of how many people were there (strange to say it is too successful). I did wonder about what impact the event would have on the animals who live in the gardens but from what I understand a risk assessment was done to determine if this posed a risk or not.

All in all, it was a good event, notwithstanding the number of people and I would highly recommend attending next time it comes back to Melbourne (if you are from this way). Details of the event can be found on the website here.

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