After dark, Sydney will really shine.
It's all part of Australia's Vivid Sydney festival, a two-week celebration of global ideas, lights and music. Friday marks the first night of this festival, which attracted more than 400,000 attendees in 2011 and is now in its fourth year.
Some of the key components of the festival include large-scale light installations; performances from musicians near and far at Sydney Opera House; and public talks and debates from international thinkers at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).
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Many of the city's iconic buildings will be illuminated with 3-D Technicolor light graphics, projections and sculptures (60 in total). There are also interactive games and mobile artworks that use social media.
One eye-catching piece is the Sydney Opera House itself, whose sails glow bright neon colors for the duration of the festival and are accompanied by video mapping from German design collective Urbanscreen.
Florence and the Machine shake it out by opening the Vivid LIVE portion of the festival, which features more than 25 live music events, including the opera Stop the Virgens from Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O and performances by Sufjan Stevens, the Temper Trap, Imogen Heap and Janelle Monáe and the Archandroid Orchestra.
The more than 100 creative events include discussions with Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy; Jake Nickell, founder of Threadless; and VICE founder and CEO Shane Smith.
The pièce de résistance may just be the work of one of the Black Eyed Peas. will.i.am has created a wholly unique interactive lighting collaboration on the outside of the MCA's new wing. Attendees can "play the building" like an instrument by waving their arms in front of the façade. Due to a motion-sensitive interface that controls will.i.am's music and Justene Williams' light projections, participants can control the tone and chord progression of the loops and samples and also direct the light.
will.i.am told Architecture & Design, "The project illustrates the magic that can be created when innovative minds and technology come together." The same could be said of the festival itself.