Melbourne's best events, reviewed
White Night returns on Saturday 22 February turning Melbourne’s CBD into a giant cultural playground with its gargantuan festival of the arts. There are over 100 free events this year, and with a larger slice of the CBD to play with I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed check out our handpicked events. We clicked, scrolled, and read through everything to bring you the best. To keep things simple we have split the night into four parts:
The blurbs for each event can also be viewed at the official page.
Purple Rain – “An unforgettable sensory experience, proven to be one of the most popular works of Paris’ Nuit Blanche. Purple Rainis a breathtaking visual and sound installation that entices you to pick up an umbrella and wander through mauve-coloured rain. Referencing the high kitsch rock ‘n’ roll film and song by infamous musician Prince, French artist Pierre Ardouvin literally interprets the 80s melancholic spirit with a piercing soundtrack to match.”
I Heart Melbourne – “Kollide Projections create a powerful beating heart simulation inside Kisho Kurokawa’s 20 stories high glass cone juxtaposing the iconic Coop’s Shot Tower in Melbourne Central. Showcasing this unique Melbourne attraction, the heart theme is explored using lights, projections, synchronised music and sound effects. Featuring art and music from local and international artists, imagery will pulse bright red across Melbourne’s skyline expanding right to the top of the structure with rotating quotes and interesting facts paying homage to the architect’s incredible design.”
Molecular Kaleidoscope – “One of the world’s foremost animators working in biomedical visualisation morphs the State Library of Victoria’s La Trobe Reading Room into a vast microscope with a magnifying power of one billion times. Be enveloped inside the twitchy, brownian world of molecules writhing across the walls and clinging to bookshelves with electrostatic life. BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning science-artist Drew Berry uncovers the nano-scopic world at the forefront of scientific research through digital animation embodying data assembled into accurate models that create our flesh and blood.”
Planetoids – “Installations of illuminated steel sculptures and spheres inspired by the solar system light up Melbourne parks and pathways on a galactic journey. SD Kinetic Studios reclaim amorphous waste materials to create new artistic forms with lighting ultimately transcending the works.”
Vortex – “Be enchanted as the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge that leads to Southgate is warped into an immersive cocoon sparkling and flickering, delighting audiences as they walk through. This light tunnel will be an extraordinary illumination in the centre of the river extending the creatively lit landscape of White Night Melbourne to the south.”
Young Prayer – “riffs on the spiritual characteristics intrinsic to rock music, where the electric guitar is revered as a tool of sacrifice, exultation, violence, sexual expression and transcendence. Stemming from William Robinson’s attraction to rock and its sub-genres of grunge, punk, new wave and thrash metal, an electric guitar is repeatedly lifted and dropped, ultimately smashing to reveal the clichéd nature this action has assumed over its relatively brief history, whilst at the same time commemorating its lineage and celebrating the distinctive auditory effects.”
I Could Have Danced All Night – “A highlight from 2013, I Could Have Danced All Night returns to White Night Melbourne with another fun-filled dance extravaganza featuring 12 different styles to get everybody moving. Some of your favourites will grace the stage along with new surprises to whet your appetite. Ausdance Victoria and their professional team will be on hand to guide you through the moves of each technique from cultural practices to modern sensations. Join us under the stars, don your dancing shoes and boogie, groove, shimmy or strut the whole night away alfresco style! Hosted by Wes Snelling, whose comical genius will keep you laughing every step of the way.”
Arcadian Reverie – “An exceptional ensemble of international and Australian artists creates innocuous creatures and atmospheres in a historic botanical park. Walk through immersive works across light, film, sculpture and music activating and transforming the vast natural environment.”
Rehab Radio’s 14th DDP (Decentralised Dance Party): Tight and White – “White Night Melbourne. Three Hundred Thousand People. Sixty Boomboxes. One Epic Playlist. … You’d be crazy to miss it.Wondering WTF a DDP is? Go here. The DDP will start at the State Library of Victoria, before we make our way through the City, bring[ing] the joy of the DDP to the people, block by block, booty by booty.” [Note: this is an unofficial White Night event.]
Moonlight Syncro – “Synchronicity and moonlight will transform the much loved Melbourne City Baths into a special performance space. Teams from Victorian Synchronised Swimming (VSSI) perform throughout the night showcasing this exquisite sport. As part of the new Northern Lights precinct, Moonlight Synchro brings together elegant formations of swimmers in a dramatic, atmospheric setting inside Melbourne’s stunning heritage icon.”
Tub Tub Does Tricks – “Delivered with a zest for the melodramatic and high-energy choreography, Tub Tub does Tricks is a one-off circus spectacular designed exclusively for White Night Melbourne. Three incredible artists will set aside the meat pies for just a moment to deliver mind blowing circus stunts that you never thought possible from the likes of Big Mama, Tub Tub and Fatty Magoo. With plenty of cheeky comedy and a gut full of razzle dazzle, you’re sure to enjoy this trio so much you’ll want to buy them a chocolate cake.”
Forgotten – “There are hundreds, thousands and millions of the unknown and forgotten. Lying in unmarked graves in silence and darkness, remnants from those who contributed to life stare out from damp shadows as a grim reminder of our destiny. Primarily referencing the catacombs in Paris, dimly lit with over 200 year old skulls placed side by side touching bones of strangers, acquaintances or those held dear in life. So many human skulls crumble into fragments with tourists scrawling their initials encased in love hearts on the craniums of the dead.”
Pom Pom Project – “Etsy and the CAE invite you to contribute to an interactive art project. Get your craft on and join in building a progressive garland of white pom poms with our special guest instructors. Everyone will have the chance to be creative at any stage throughout the night so feel free to bring your family, partner or friends to participate in this collective workshop”
Psychic Hairdressers Anonymous – “is a holistic make-over service, offering a range of options for both your exterior and interior self. In a jiffy you will be buffed to perfection with cosmetics, custom hairdos, chakra alignment, past-life regression therapy or anything else they see fit. Award-winning performers Bron Batten and Beth Sometimes will rove around as costumed characters, towing custom-made carts stocked with glitter, hairspray, face-paint and other supplies to make over passing patrons. This irreverent, intimate experience full of fun and silliness will engage punters in a physical, emotional and most importantly, spiritual way.”
The Book of Night – “Watch a book being written in one single night with the finished work available as an eBook the very next day! Writers have a reputation for working feverishly into the night. The Emerging Writers’ Festival is challenging 12 writers over 12 hours to write 12 chapters in a collective work of fiction titled The Book of the Night. The intrepid writers on stage will have their writing projected as they work. Audiences are encouraged to shape the story by feeding plot points and suggesting characters. The event, streamed live online, showcases a diverse range of writers working across a variety of genres and styles including poetry, fiction, short story writers, comic artists and more.”
The Secret Garden -“A free open-air garden and art space, Testing Grounds is a place for experimentation, ideas and public gatherings in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct. For White Night Melbourne, Testing Grounds will create an enchanting garden of wonder and amusement for families. Hosting shadow puppets, short films and large-scale chalk drawing, activities will be programmed throughout the night offering a relaxing and playful experience. Testing Grounds is a curated art project by These are The Projects We Do Together, an architecture and design practice with a focus on public and temporary installations.”[Note: Ruki loves the Testing Grounds!]
The Signal Screen – “Engage in a series of screen and sound based commissions created by talented young artists presented by Signal. The creative studio for young people 13 to 20 years located in the heart of Melbourne on Northbank offers young people the opportunity to work alongside professional artists in a collaborative way through multi-artform workshops and mentoring. Programmes provide emerging and established artists with opportunities and spaces for exploration, creation and showcasing. Experience works throughout the evening from four profiled artists.”
If these aren’t enough for you, check out some of these other neat guides:
We’ll be dosing ourselves with caffeine throughout the night in an effort to go to everything. Stay tuned for a post-White Night rundown of our favourite events.
-Ruki & Theresa