Looking for a memorable, magical night with friends or family? Make sure you check out the annual White Night Festival. White Night is an all night extravaganza that runs from 7pm to 7am on Sat 21st February. It’s a marathon celebration of art, technology and culture. Now in its third year, White Night promises an even bigger number of exhibitions and events, spread across the city from the National Gallery Victoria in the south to Melbourne Museum in the north.
Some of the most popular destinations from previous years have some new and exciting treats in store this year. The State Library will be showcasing an Alice in Wonderland theme with the front facade depicting a “Down the Rabbit Hole” animation. Inside the Reading Room the famous dome will come alive with a wondrous light and sound show entitled “Eat Me”.
ACMI, the Australian Centre for Moving Images at Federation Square will be hosting a feast of all night animations as part of the International Animation Festival. From 7pm to midnight the shows are family oriented, featuring such delights as a farting dog, high diving giraffes and some incredibly surreal shape shifters.
The tone moves to an adult vibe after midnight with such amusing offerings as a gun toting teddy bear, a crazed, out of control doodle, and a pot smoking penguin with a sex addiction.
Also at ACMI will be the “Google Cube”, a uniquely interactive cube where you determine the nature of video and sound displays by changing the direction of the cube.
The National Gallery will feature an amazing coloured laser light experience called the “Infinite Curve,” and the front of the building will be invaded by an army of animated plastic figures in a display that incorporates light, animation, sound and sculpture, known as “Keyframes”.
Being a seasoned White Night visitor I can offer some advice to make the most of your evening. The event is hugely popular and a large majority of people converge around the Swanston Street precinct, so unless you want to spend hours wading through a sea of people try to avoid this area during the peak period of 9pm to 11.30pm.
The indoor activities can also be so crowded it can be near impossible to get through the door. Try to visit these as early as possible, otherwise save them for some late night exploring if you have the stamina.
A great way to enjoy some of the highlights of the evening is to walk the city looking for all the colourful animated facades. The “Wonderland” display features all of the heritage buildings along Flinders Street between Russel and Elizabeth Streets, including Flinders Street Station. All new displays are promised for this year and the kids will adore them. Keep exploring other parts of the city such as laneways and the banks of the river as you will discover a myriad of surprises, and often avoid the worst of the crowds during the peak rush. Don’t forget your camera.
Feeling energetic? Put on your dancing shoes and participate in “I could have danced all night” located in Lonsdale Street. Organised by Ausdance, you can learn different dance styles and moves from professional instructors. Also check out ACMI’s “Lightwell”, which will be converted to a music and dance space with international DJ’s.
For more information visit the White Night website at www.whitenightmelbourne.com.au. You can plan your own unique itinerary or simply turn up to explore and discover at random for an evening of delightful serendipity. If you choose to plan your night keep in mind that some of the displays are there long term and so can always be visited at a later date.
Take a break from the chaos to enjoy a meal at one of Melbourne’s great laneways or dining precincts. You will feel recharged and ready to explore again. Public transport runs all night so leave the car at home. Enjoy your White Night experience.