Vivid 2014

annual events, art

Vivid is one of the the most fascinating events of the year in Sydney, a cultural festival whose main attraction is a series of light-based public art displays that come on each evening. There are displays all over the city – Circular Quay, Martin Place, Darling Harbour, Milsons Point, and maybe a few more. Last year, we skipped it, as we had a four month old, and taking her out into crowds after dark in the cold seemed like the laest appealing prospect on offer. This year, though, we thought we’d give it a try, as we now have an inquisitive toddler who even seems vaguely aware that there are such a things as lights (i.e. – she points to the lights on our ceiling and says, “gah! gah!”).

We confined ourselves to the Circular Quay and The Rocks festivities and chose a weeknight, as the crowds can be crushing on the weekends. We got to Circular Quay around 5p.m. and sat down at one of the overpriced and mediocre tourist restaurants for a meal so that we’d all be in fine form when the lights came on at 6. Thankfully, our dinner special came with (terrible) glasses of wine because, even early on a weeknight, the crowds were large, and a little pre-game mellowing was helpful in dealing with the stress of it all. The festival seems to be growing every year, and I’m afraid that aspect of it is making it less and less fun. But, the new excitement for us was letting our girl interact with the exhibits a bit. We found a few for her to play with and, more or less, she was pretty taken with the lights and people everywhere. It did get scary for her when we hit a dark section in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art. She was being pushed in her pram and couldn’t see either of her parents, as we were behind her, so she got pretty scared. From then on, we tried to stay in her sight, and she’d every once in awhile reach up for a reassuring hand. We didn’t stay terribly long – maybe an hour and a half after dinner – as it was all a bit much for Hushpuppy, but got a good taste of the festival, nonetheless. I’ll look forward to going again next year with an older toddler who can get even more into the interactive exhibits.

Projections on Customs House
Projections on Customs House
Hushpuppy enjoying some light play.

Projections on the Museum of Contemporary Art
Projections on the Museum of Contemporary Art

The most exciting part of Vivid is the “lighting of the sails.” 

One thought on “Vivid 2014

  1. Yvette Niesel

    We went to VIVID the first year we were here and I loved it. Last year we were still living in Kirribilli, so we just enjoyed the lighting of the sails every night as we walked home and that was pretty much it. I think I might try to walk through Martins Place one night after work, but don’t really feel like fighting the crowds either. Not really my cup of tea. But what I can see from home (the Harbour Bridge) is beautiful. I’m happy that you guys had a couple of hours of fun with Hushpuppy.

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