By Michael Day, graduates & undergraduates from UTS, RMIT & the University of Applied Sciences in Ansbach, Germany. Mike describes the work:

Wagnerlicht is a multimedia installation to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Richard Wagner. It explores and reinterprets the composer’s epic music drama “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (The Ring Cycle) for a young generation not familiar with Wagner’s work.
Small scale sculptural elements have been designed and fabricated by innovative young and established light artists, academics and post graduate design & sound students from the University of Technology Sydney, RMIT and The University of Applied Sciences in Ansbach, Germany. Each element incorporates changeable light and sound components that respond to and comment on Wagner’s Ring Cycle themes. Some boxes contain small installations viewed through peepholes and listened to through headphones; others are larger immersive environments that can be played with or climbed on. Different immersive soundscapes, with changing mood lighting have been created for each exhibition venue.
My particular box contained 8 separate peephole elements including 4 kaleidoscopes, 2 scale models, a LED text scroller and an iPad movie and used electro-luminescent panels and LED spots plus a specially composed sound loop to playfully interpret the first few minutes of the Ring

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

The concept. The forms were more influenced by artists’ creative and narrative needs plus international transport size requirements than by specific locations – the installation will travel to several different locations so had to be very adaptable. It was located at Sydney Conservatorium of Music for the Vivid Festival.


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

I was the instigator and curator and designed and made one of the elements. I coordinated 5 designers, 2 recent design graduates, 10 undergraduates, 7 sound designers and a graphic designer.  The project was generously sponsored by Xenian and the Wagner Society in NSW.


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

I am very busy growing the wagnerlicht project – it is at present on display at the Bachhaus Museum in Eisenach, Germany, where more light and sound pieces have been added. It will come to the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne during the Ring Cycle performances in November/December where additional pieces made by Melbourne artists will be displayed. After then it has been invited to travel to other places in Germany plus Singapore, Moscow and Copenhagen. It will finish in Prague when over 40 light and sound artists will be represented.

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