Join me as I travel, play, eat, live and work in cities and places around the world.
Australia's First All-Night Festival of the Arts
Image courtesy of Right Angle Events
Melbourne is poised to deliver a night event on the scale that would dwarf the nocturnal hum of LUNA at the Queen Victoria Market in 2013.
Nuit Blanche, or 'White Night' in English, is a all-night festival of arts, culture and performance conceptualised by Jean Blaise, the founder of Le Centre de Recherche pour le Développement culturel (The Research Center for Cultural Development) in 1984.
Paris Nuit Blanche 2010 / Photo by (vincent desjardins) of Flickr
In the course of one night, the centre of the host city is transformed into a giant all-genre art gallery with many free dance and music performances, films and public gatherings in designated social and cultural spaces, private and public art galleries and museums.
This night-time immersion of the arts has been hosted in more than 120 cities around the world including Brussels in Belgium, New York in the US and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. One of the most popular 'Nuit Blanche' celebrations around the world with tourists and residents in early March is in Montréal, Canada. It antes up some 180 mostly free indoor and outdoor activities including installations, exhibitions, live performances and screenings that light up the night in the city. The cities exchange experiences, projects and artists and new cities become candidates each year.
Montréal Nuit Blanche 2010 / Photo by meantux of Flickr
Now 28 years later, the best place for art in Australia is joining the festival bandwagon. Scheduled for 23 February 2013, 'Nuit Blanche' Melbourne will be one of the cities to herald the start of the world's all-night festivities in addition to hosting Australia's first White Night event from dusk to dawn. White Night Melbourne is an initiative of the Victorian Major Events Company and Right Angle Events led by Creative director Andrew Walsh were awarded the contract to put on the festival in 2012. I managed to get a sneak peak of what to expect of White Night Melbourne from Andrew and the Victoria Premier's Office.
Running from 7pm on 23 February to 7am the next day, White Night Melbourne is a new dusk-till-dawn major event for Melbourne. Andrew shared that "it will be a celebration of Melbourne's passions – art, music, food, performance, film, fashion, sport – and will allow visitors to see the city in a totally new light".
A Night like No Other
In what Andrew believes will be a night of epic proportions, residents and tourists can expect Melbourne's galleries, theatres, music venues, shops, restaurants, major cultural institutions, public buildings, parks, streets and laneways to come alive throughout the night and showcasing the city's art and culture, food and wine, fashion and sport.
Premier and Minister for the Arts of the State of Victoria, Ted Baillieu shared that White Night Melbourne would span the city's public and private spaces covering Flinders Street, Swanston Street, St Kilda Road, Southgate, Birrarung Marr and the Yarra River. He explained that Melbourne will "become a canvas and a playground, with many streets turned into pedestrian thoroughfares, projections lighting up the city, and plenty for all ages to explore, enjoy and participate in".
Projection on The Forum / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
For example, the Flinders street-scape from the Forum Theatre to St Paul's Cathedral will be transformed into one of the largest projection projects mounted in Australia by The Electric Canvas, an internationally recognised Australian company specialising in the field of large-scale projection. Yarra Trams will be running services on all routes throughout White Night Melbourne ensuring safe and easy transport all night long.
Expect the Unexpected
Whispering Society / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
White Night Melbourne is an event like no other where visitors can expect the unexpected. Andrew explained that the "White Night Melbourne experience aims to challenge people's perceptions and get people to notice what they see and know in a totally new light". For example, searchers into the paranormal, The Whispering Society, will be hosting an story telling game in the dark alleys, forgotten corridors and haunted places of the city.
Birrarung Marr will feature a visceral experience of sound and light entitled 'World Without Sun' by Canadian artist Christine Davis explores the interdependencies of life on our planet.
World Without Sun / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
Premier Baillieu shared that "Flinders Street Station will be transformed into a live music amphitheatre, stages set upon rolling tram cars on St Kilda Road will feature circus and music performers, an inflatable cinema screen will be running on Birrarung Marr, an underground car park will host an art exhibition, and 'pop-up' food stalls will tantalise the
White Night Melbourne's Music Director, Felix Riebl, will be transforming Flinders Street Station into a proscenium arched music stage featuring local bands and musicians in order to "capture Melbourne's wild music heart and encourage people to stay up all night and celebrate".
The organisers are also inviting the local restaurants and bars at Flinders Lane, Degraves Street and throughout the CDB to open all night with special offers and menus to feed all the spectators.
A Wonderland of Sights and Sounds
Andrew shared that White Night Melbourne would "suspend the everyday as the city's streetscape was transformed into a wonderland of sights and sounds". More than 100 artists, activities and acts will appear over 12 hours across 35 sites in the Melbourne CBD to excite and surprise residents and tourists. For example, Yandell Walton will be using technology to present a projection installation of ghost like figures moving through an inner city laneway.
Yandell Walton laneway installation / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
White Night Melbourne would see Victoria's major cultural institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Arts Centre Melbourne, State Library of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum open late for the 1st time and contribute to the event with their own night entertainment simultaneously.
ACMI dawn of the dead / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
For example, Melbourne Museum will be screening 'A Night at the Museum' for the kids and parents while the State Library will feature Victoria's culinary history through its Gusto Exhibition, a night tour and concert. ACMI brings us '101 Zombie Kills' that depict the best death scenes in zombie culture. Eureka Skydeck will remain open all night for visitors to enjoy the fantastic lights of the city and offer a 20 percent discount between 2am to 4am.
Eureka Sykdeck / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
Andrew shared that the "most creative idea of local and international artists and designers from all disciplines will be on display" via the various exhibitions, street performances, multimedia projections, film screenings, concerts, dance, fashion installations and interactive events. French artist Michel Blazy's installation consisting of thick and creamy white foam entitled 'Bouquet Final 2' premiered at the 2012 Paris Nuit Blanche will be coming to White Night Melbourne.
Final Bouquet 2 / Photo courtesy of Right Angle Events
To close the all-night festival at the dawn of the next day, all the White Night Melbourne artists will lead a procession of 'Singing in the Sunrise' with spectators from Flinders Street to Princes Bridge.
An event the scale of White Night Melbourne is possible through the efforts of the Victorian Major Events Company, Right Angle and supporters including the National Gallery of Victoria, the Arts Centre Melbourne, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne Museum, the State Library of Victoria, Federation Square, the City of Melbourne, Arts Victoria and Tourism Victoria.
A New Marquee Event for Victoria
Premier Baillieu shared that "Melbourne has long held a reputation as a cultural and major events powerhouse". It already has one of the world's most admired calenders of major events including the successful Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibitions, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and Emirates Melbourne Cup. By showcasing the great strengths and extraordinary creativity of Melbourne in a whole new light, White Night Melbourne is undoubtedly set to become a new marquee event for Victoria.
How can Readers Participate?
White Night Melbourne is a predominantly free event, with some ticketed events. For more information on the full programme and updates, please visit www.whitenightmelbourne.com.au