Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Melbourne gets its own White Night!

Just when you think Melbourne can't get any more exciting, or cram in another event into its jam packed calendar- we welcomed in a new addition to the mix! Experienced in several cities across the world, White Night made its first appearance in Melbourne celebrating arts, culture, music, lights, projections and a city closed off to traffic, but filled with spectators from 7pm-7am! 12 hours to watch a city transform from the various hours of energetic wonderment to weary stragglers needing to rest their heads by about 3am.
I had been sick in bed the whole day before, so that was either a blessing or a curse that it gave me the chance to rest up for being on my feet so many hours the next day. I started the day with a very appropriate film to get me in the mood at ACMI, La Notte, an Italian film set over one day and a very long night and a pretty interesting party. By the end of White Night, I had felt like I was in my own film with some intriguing characters stepping into my frame. It was great to experience the city during the day and feel the energy building and watch the set up of the precincts before dashing home for a quick rest, feed and comfortable shoes! 
It was a very warm day in Melbourne and a hot humid night which was perfect to be outdoors in, but being Melbourne, I still carried with me a cardigan and a scarf- for you just never know when the seasons might change. The moon, which was almost full had also turned out to join in the White Night theme and gave a wonderful sky view amongst the projections of colour. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) had some amazing projections on the outside walls which drew a great crowd as well as inside the building which had various events going on including an all night Zine creation. 
French artist Michel Blazy presented an installation in the great hall of the NGV titled Bouquet Final 2, which consisted of white foam powered by electric pumps with pieces floating through the air with eager onlookers attempting to snatch it. Hours of fun! But there was still more to see.
The Yarra River had giant white love balls where you could text a message and have them projected onto the balls for all to see your declaration of love! In fact love seemed to be in the air that night!
Federation Square became one big dance party with all night dancing and Zumba marathons under the glittering lights of disco balls suspended from above. The fear of walking anywhere near there was great for me- it was so crammed with people and the heat, I thought I better save my Zumba for another time. Besides, all this walking, I most certainly felt like I was getting my workout for the night, but I commend all those that put their energy out there.I don't know how they did it!
Under the clocks of Flinders Street station, once just a meeting place and a quick glance of train times before racing in, was transformed with colourful projections and a stage with various live bands performing to get the crowds in a festive mood.
The already magnificent Forum Theatre had also been transformed with light projections that changed colours and patterns to entice the crowds.
Down by the Yarra River, there was a refreshing breeze brought about by the light show on the water that then turned into a giant fountain spurting out water and light along with music. It was pretty magical and nothing a camera could unfortunately bring justice, it was more about the mood and energy of it.
To end the night, which for me, lasted till 4am before heading home, a miracle if you'd seen my state the day before- we headed off to the Eureka Tower. A 297.3 metre skyscraper, the Southern Hemispheres highest viewing platform with 91 floors, we went up to the 88th floor where Eureka Skydeck is to see Melbourne in it's White Night, bright twinkling lights glory. And she sure didn't dissapoint. You could see all the landmarks where we had just been on the ground and out on the deck we could hear the roar of the crowd cheering the bands that were still playing outside Flinders Street station, which was interesting to see the station empty without the long glide of trains on its tracks. This really was a highlight for me and something that has been on the list to do, but fear of heights kind of got in the way, but when a 20% discount is offered between 2-4am, you kinda put that aside! There were people asleep on tables inside, the night had caught up with them, others just enjoying the view and a cup of coffee to keep them going. I will definitely be back to see what it looks like during the day and sunset but so lovely to feel the city from this height and spot some landmarks in the dark. I wish I had the stamina to see in the dawn, but I have a year to get into training for it, as the next White Night has already been announced for next year and I can't wait! Thank you Melbourne for putting on a great show and for the people who put out great energy! So glad to have been a part of it! Till next year!

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