With the 2011 Brisbane Festival now well and truly underway, entertainment venues all around this awesome city I call home are buzzing with art, theatre, music and more. I thought, therefore, it might be an idea to head into South Bank this afternoon and take a look around before the main event of the evening kicked off - the opening night performance of the highly anticipated "City of Lights" display.

Before grabbing a prime spot on the banks of the Brisbane River, however, I thought I'd scoot around to some of the many free attractions on show as part of the Festival and check them out while I can. First stop, the psychedelic "Liquid Interactive Light Scope".


Liquid Interactive Light Scope

Positioned on the lawn out front of the Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC), the long white tent housing the Liquid Interactive Light Scope installation is unmistakable. Stepping inside, you become immersed in a 30m long tunnel of pulsating light, colour, movement and reflection.

Thanks to a few strategically placed "XBOX Kinect" motion capture devices, the trippy patterns beamed across over 500 seamless LED screens, attached to 4 digital servers, is altered by the movements of those passing through the tunnel in front of the sensors, creating an always unique experience.

Before you check out the couple of shots I took while inside, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the installation and how it came to be.

Liquid Interactive Light Scope
Liquid Interactive Light Scope

Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv

With my eyes adjusting to the brightly lit world outside the confines of the Liquid Interactive Light Scope, I made my way to what I can only describe as, and I think I tweeted this, a "somewhat bizarre but strangely compelling" performance called “Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv”.

The official description goes something like this:

"Three artists from Israel's Tami Dance Company directed by Nimrod Freed, join six Australian dancers to deliver seven unique performances at the same time, to the same music – inside seven peep cells. The audience is invited to 'peep' and experience contemporary dance through a new lens."

…and peep we did. This one had people talking – that's for sure!

Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv
Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv
Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv
Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv
Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv
Peepdance Brisbane Tel-Aviv

Golden Casket Light Sphere

Making my way to the far end of the South Bank precinct I found the large collection of mirrored discs that everyone had been tweeting about all weekend. When positioned together above a pit of white rock, the discs made up a perfect "light sphere" that reflects and spherically distorts the world of curious activity going on around it.

As the sun began to set over the city, the LED lights surrounding the sphere's base came to life and a beautiful kaleidoscope of colour appeared completely spellbinding the swelling gathering of kids and families who were beginning to arrive on the river ready for the big event that was about to begin...

Golden Casket Light Sphere
Golden Casket Light Sphere
Golden Casket Light Sphere

City of Lights

I first touched on the "City of Lights" music, light and laser show back in June when details of the spectacle began to emerge and create a level of anticipation usually reserved only for the annual Riverfire fireworks which, incidentally, went off with a bang last night, but I'll get to that shortly.

I really had no idea what to expect both from an entertainment and potential photographic perspective, so I simply set up my camera on a fairly wide angle composition so as to take in most of the river and the buildings that looked to be involved, and took it from there.

The brain child of Aussie lighting designer, John Rayment (Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony) and producer Tony Assness (Fox Studios Launch, Moulin Rouge), the performance involves a number of light beams and coloured lasers which gyrate and project an array of shapes and other surprises onto surrounding landmarks and two huge screens of water mist, created by jets of water shot from 4 river-based barges.

It's perhaps a little complex and wordy to explain it's setup, but when it's brought all together... Wow!

City of Lights Laser Show
City of Lights Laser Show
City of Lights Laser Show
City of Lights Laser Show

The playlist of songs

  • Nick Wales - Lantern Boy
  • Goyte - Heart's A Mess (Supermayer Remix)
  • Phillip Glass - The Light
  • Lamb - The Spectacle
  • Daft Punk - Outlands
  • The Irrepressibles – In This Shirt (Röyksopp Remix)
  • Wagner: Götterdämmerung – Act 3: Fliegt Heim Ihr Raben

A quick shout out to @BrisFestival for confirming that list for me!


City of Lights Laser Show
City of Lights Laser Show
City of Lights Laser Show

To give you a better idea of what to expect, here's a quick grab of video from talented Brisbane photographer David de Groot.

The "City of Lights" laser light show, the first of its kind in Australia, runs twice a night (7pm & 8pm) for the next 3 weeks so there's absolutely no excuse not to check out the spectacle for yourself!

I'll definitely be heading down after work a few more times over the next couple of weeks to try a few different photographic locations and techniques. Exciting!!


Sunsuper Riverfire 2011

While we're on the subject of stunning night time displays, it would be remiss of me not to mention last night's Riverfire! Without doubt one of the city's premier annual events, over half a million people crowded numerous bends of the winding Brisbane River to bear witness to Brisbane's biggest and best annual fireworks display.

While the trademark after-burning F111s are no longer a feature with the remaining fleet of fighter jets being put to pasture after last year's event, colourful explosions leaping from no less than 6 barges and, of course, the Story Bridge kept onlookers, including myself, enthralled for almost half an hour.

Sunsuper Riverfire 2011

I was particularly fortunate this year to be invited by my boss at my new work to join him and his family at his Aunt's perfectly positioned apartment, elevated over a bend in the river that afforded views in two directions – both up to the Story Bridge, and also along the South Bank reach. PERFECT!

Thanks again Scotty!

The only thing left to do is to share with you some of the action from last night's event, below.

Remember, the 2011 Brisbane Festival runs for another couple of weeks until September 24th and there's a wealth of great things to see and do in that time which can all be explored on the official Festival website.

Check it out, get involved and tell me what you find in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you!

Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011
Sunsuper Riverfire 2011

Links & Credits

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