By Mike Day, Alan Rose, Yiren Ding & Sunjong Song. Mike describes the work :

Several different lighting installations were designed referencing some of the history of the island :

a. A giant artificial bonfire provided a welcoming beacon inviting all the tribes of Sydney to come for a corroboree – a ring of 16 8m high x 60cm dia inflated parachute silk ‘flames’ situated on the southern gun emplacement, lit by internal and external LEDs and clearly visible from the Opera House .
b. 7 red chimneys suggested the firelight from the cosy hearths inside the barracks - simple red PARs
c. 6 of the barrack’s windows displayed silhouettes of the avian emblems of Australia (the Emu), Great Britain (the Robin), France (the Cockerell), Russia (the Swan), America (the Eagle) and Japan (the Phoenix). Some of these countries were once at war with Great Britain and therefore with Australia as it was a colony at the time. Others were seen as possible threats to the colony but are now our friends and partners – Simple filter cloth, paper and theatrical gel screens were placed in the windows and lit from within by LED spotlights.
d. The lone surviving palm tree was lit from beneath with color-blasters.

  1. Which came first – concept or location? How much does the location influence your creativity?

The location completely inspired the concept for Fort Denison. Physical location and history usually provide the impetus for my designs.


2. What was your role & who did you collaborate with? What roles did they play?

I obtained the commission and came up with the basic conceptual ideas but 3 students from my UTS Master of Design in Lighting Course expanded and developed the ideas and carried out the installation. Alan Rose created the final bonfire and Yiren Ding and Sunjong Song designed and made the window installations. They were helped by a technical team from Xenian and the installation was sponsored by Philips Lighting.



3. How you came to be a lighting installation artist? Are you working on any projects not for Vivid, you’d like to share?

I have been a registered architect and an artist for 45 years and a qualified lighting designer for 9 years. I have been teaching Lighting Design at UTS since 2000. I was one of the instigators (with Mary-Anne Kyriakou) of the first SmartLight/Vivid event in 2009 and exhibited light sculptures in the Rocks and at UTS. I exhibited a light sculpture at the Willoughby Incinerator Gallery in April as a tribute to the Griffins’ Centenary. I am the Lighting Director for the Chippendale Beams Festival on 21 September and am working on proposals for interactive lighting installations at the Newington Armoury, UTS and the Sydney Opera House. My main focus for the next 3 of years will be my wagnerlicht light and sound exhibition which is touring the world.



4. Where do you see future for independent lighting sculptures & installations taking you?

I see excellent potential for light art and interactive light installations throughout the world as the number of city light festivals increases, however sponsorship is very difficult to find – lighting companies are generous with loans of equipment but very few companies have cash to give away

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Polka Kucha