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Free Light in Winter Festival 2013

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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Banish winter with light, warmth, illumination and community
The internationally renowned Light in Winter Festival will once again be a beacon of brightness in the depths of a Melbourne winter in 2013. As the sun goes down every evening from 1 to 30 June it will spread its light over Federation Square with a series of interactive exhibits and activities that will warm you up just like a good cup of cocoa.

the light in winter, federation square
Image from Federation Square website.

The Light in Winter is a month-long program of free events including exhibitions, film screenings, forums, the Solstice Celebration and the star of this year's show - the Helix Tree. What sets this arts festival apart from many others is not only the scale of its operations but the level of genuine community involvement at all levels. It relies heavily on contributions from various community groups, and this year choirs will be at the forefront. You might think that the connection between choirs and light is not obvious but read on and find out how the music and voice of the community will play an integral part in bringing the light to life.

the light in winter, federation square, solstice celebration
Image from Federation Square website.

For more information about the festival you can download the program here but below are some of this year's highlights.

The Helix Tree
This amazing futuristic structure is designed by Melbourne-based, Canadian-born public artist and lighting designer, Bruce Ramus. The Helix Tree may look like a woven web of steel but it can be breathed into life by the power of the human voice. It is fitted with LED lights that change brightness and colour in a reflection of changes in pitch and volume of sound.

the light in winter, the helix tree, federation square
Image from Federation Square website

Singing Up the Helix Tree: From 5.30pm to 6pm you can witness a range of community choirs bringing the sculpture to life.

Everyone Can Do It: From 6pm to 7.30 pm members of the audience can get involved too.

Programmed Displays: Will run from 7.30pm until late.


Leempeeyt Weeyn'
Leempeeyt Weeyn' is the hub for the festival's Federation Square activities. The campfire, created by Vicki Couzens and Melbourne Indigenous community elders, will burn brightly and warmly throughout the whole month of June.

Opening Ceremony: 1 June from 5pm to 6pm

Campfire Program: Thursdays 6 and 20 June (for schools), Fridays 7 and 14 June (6pm to 7pm) and Saturdays 8 and 15 June (6pm to 7.30pm

Closing Ceremony: 30 June from 5pm to 6pm.)


Winter Solstice
Celebrate the shortest day of the year and the beginning of the inexorable move back towards summer. This celebration is so big that it won't be confined just to the solstice itself, 21 June. Winter Solstice activities will run from Thursday 20 June to Sunday 23 June.

the light in winter, winter solstice
Image from Federation Square website

Light Play: On 20 June from 6pm to 8pm you can be in charge of the whole lighting rig in The Atrium. Under the watchful eye of designer Bruce Ramus you can make the lighting respond to music.

Yo Gobo: Design consultancy Electrolight have been commissioned to create light stencils that will be projected into St Paul's Court.

Solstice Celebration: On Saturday 22 June from 5pm to 8pm Federation Square will ring with the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of a truly multicultural celebration. Food, music and performances will be provided by a number of Melbourne's cultural communities. Other activities include a lantern procession and light installations.


Infinite Energy
Of course the Light in Winter isn't just about physical light, it's also about the light of ideas. A series of forums and talks will shed light and provide discussion on issues of our time, ranging from social media to science and democracy. These are free and will be staged at The Edge on Tuesday evenings throughout June. See the program for details.

the light in winter, federation square
Image from Federation Square website
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Why? It's a beacon of light in the depths of winter.
When: From Saturday 1 June to Sunday 30 June 2013.
Where: Federation Square
Cost: It's free
Your Comment
Would be great f you could subscribe to an email or SMS service that reminded you which events were on and when :-)
by Rod Doddridge (score: 0|5) 2372 days ago
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