Wellington LUX Night Lights Festival 2014


22/08/2014 - 31/08/2014

Production Details

Wellington LUX is a free public light festival that turns Wellington’s waterfront and laneways into a captivating celebration of light, art, technology and design. 

Lights ON: 6pm – 11pm 

This year the festival will showcase a fantastical array of light sculptures that wind their way through an urban light trail within the city’s laneways and then spill out into a promenade of light installations along the waterfront. These will be accompanied by artist talks from national and international artists, designers, and researchers; pop up exhibitions and installations; and fun free activities.

We are also proud to be collaborating with Visa Wellington on a Plate to bring you deLUX Dining; a guided tour of a selection of our lighting installations followed by dinner at one of Visa Wellington on a Plate’s finest participating restaurants. 

Major Partners: Massey University; Wellington City Council 

See full details on: lux.org.nz 

The freedom, playfulness and enchantment of enlightenment

Review by Grace Ahipene Hoet 26th Aug 2014

Don’t miss LUX: it’s a must-experience opportunity! What a way to close winter and welcome the first day of Spring. 

Lux is indeed a celebration worthy of its hype. An overall show stopper ‘performance’, it makes you say, “You can’t beat Wellington on a beautiful night.” With family in tow make sure you take your time to meander, play, dance, scream and interact in this celebration of light, sustainability, technology and culture.

Lux does indeed bring Wellington’s Waterfront to life! Lux (lx) a measure of the intensity of light as perceived by the human eye. 

The instantaneous delight that one experiences when first glimpsing your first light sculpture hanging in an grungy alleyway, ‘The Chandelier’ by WCC Urban Design Team, momentarily allows the big kid in me to gasp just as loudly as the 8 year old grandson squealing in delight when he is busily trying to work out its mechanics/source. To the ‘Rasping Music’ by Mo H Zareel, well positioned in its container cutting out any extraneous light and sound creating an epileptic electronic wash board rasp effect.

The sustainability of the illuminated bottles in a dumpster down a side alley – ‘2745’ by Urban Intervention – does indeed bring light to the mundane space and allows the audience to explore the architecture in places they don’t visually notice.  

Starting at the wrong end I quickly learn that following the sequential numbering in the programme makes for better viewing. Also make sure you take your time, allow each sculpture to resonate with you – and they will, some more than others. It is truly amazing how much you really notice when you sit and ponder. Like ‘2745’: how clever, how simple; filled water bottles that gradually become less filled the lower down in the dumpster they go, with 3000 LEDs interwoven … Quite a beautiful little stunner of an installation!

The lovely tenderness of the ‘Orbs’ created by Out of the Dark brings to life their spherical illumination, subtly warming the laneway and creating a festive welcoming to the oncoming waterfront display. 

Please, there is no need for any extraneous lighting! Can someone please turn off the lights in the car park building as well as the excessive floodlights in the laneways there is no need for them they detract from the illuminated visual feasts given by the installations. Thank goodness ‘Orbs’ is strong enough to hold its own. 

Lux‘s visual feast is brilliantly intellectual, creative and emotionally mature. It incorporates all spectres of intelligence and is an ignition to your own creative storytelling and imagination. Lux removes all boundaries, preconceptions and fears. There are no age, gender or colour barriers. Light brings freedom, playfulness and enchantment to everyone. Lights make you light, heady, trippy, magical and enlightened.

Lux brings a mesmerising evening of creativity and technology fused to bring the viewer exquisite moments of true memories that are emblazoned in one’s retina.  The simplicity of light that transports people and allows our inner child to play, scream, shout and philosophise is magical fun for all ages.  

‘Square Things’ by Johann Nortje cleverly achieves an interactive opportunity through the use of sound and light, whereby the user’s voice, pitch and volume is displayed in colour and movement: nothing square about that.

Lights transport people into a realm of fairy tale experiences within the ‘Potion Forest’ by Hayless Drummong, Scott Fortune, Krissi Smith and Alena Woo. They set something off inside us all from the Harry Potter magical realm that I loved. Then there is the hypnotically surreal Sci Fi ‘Daydream V.2’ by Nonotak … Each is mesmerising in its own right.

Many of the 26 installations can’t be written about but really only experienced. How do you explain a carpet of lights on water where the blue chases the greens in ‘nZwarm’ by SUTD Advanced Architecture Laboratory and Augmented Senses Group? The name says it all.

Jeff O’Donnell’s ‘Within Coherent Zones’ looks, at first glance, like an erratic jumble of lasers with no meaning. But grab a gelato, have a seat and truly allow your eyes to take it all in. Such is the delight of seeing grown men dancing around poles and lights, where men and women jump and chase the projected lasers running through the man-made Pou forest right alongside the eight year-old dancing the lights fantastic. Where snakes or eels climb poles … are we in the outback?

LUX is indeed a leading-edge festival of light, sustainability, technology and culture growing in scale; a celebration of light and creativity in the capital. Just as the lights illuminate, so is the soul enlightened. I can’t wait until LUX 2015 when it celebrates the International year of the Light: let’s see what magical illumination feast Massey University and WCC can serve up for us.

As an aside, can we have more festivities joining in on LUX please. Can Te Papa stay open longer? Can the City Galleries open? Can City to Sea Museum open? Can the cafes and bars along with the Wharewaka please stay open or how else can I see ‘Mauriora’ by Jamie Boynton which does look stunning even at a glimpse through a closed cafe window; pity the pole was in the way.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Wellington City wake up; let’s support LUX as a growing Festival worthy of support. Combine a little more celebratory mood with the ingenuity of the Massey students, graduates, professional artists, scientists and wonderful creative free spirits. LUX is an opportunity that inspires. How wonderful end to winter with a festival worthy of celebration from opening glow to lights out, for one enlightened week only!

Light is a perfect gateway to culture, science, excitement and productivity.


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