SUE JACKSON Therapist | Writer | Photographer | Activist

An avid blogger for the last fifteen years, I believe in the power of the word to change the world. I have participated in, and reported on, a range of protests during this period, including the successful East-West Link campaign and, more recently, our wonderful, home-grown Extinction Rebellion (XR). If you believe, like I do, that it is time for ordinary people to rise up in defence of the planet, I encourage you to explore this blog, share it with your networks, and – of course – take action.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

White Night Melbourne

I woke up crazed and exhausted this morning. I'd been tossing and turning and didn't get to sleep until nearly dawn. And no wonder. 
Last night at 11pm, with our friends Cathie and Ken, we were de-canted from the sedate surrounds of Hamer Hall, where we had been attending Victorian Opera's gala concert, into the White Night wonderland that the city had become in our absence.
From now on, one night every February from 7pm until 7am, the respectable dowager that is Melbourne gets to throw off her corsets and pearls, wash the blue-rinse from her hair and exalt in her alter-ego - a navel-baring, pierced and tatooed rager.   

Part of Electric Canvas' installation in Flinders Street

Sedate and harried Flinders Street morphed into Fantasyland in the hands of the Electric Canvas group. Building after building emerged from dull night-time grey into brilliant colours as thousands of admirers jostled for the best positions to capture this marvel on their cameras and phones. Electric Canvas was also responsible for one of my other favourites, which involved huge pictures of its masterpieces being successively projected on to the exterior walls of the National Gallery of Victoria. Sitting on the edge of the moat watching images slither up and down the walls was mesmerising.

View of the Spiegel tent from the NGV moat

The NGV had heaps on offer inside too. 
I was intrigued by the churning white foam installation of French artist, Michel Blazy.

White foam reaching up to Leonard French's iconic stained glass ceiling

The sculpture below of Indonesian fishermen packed a real whallop. Made entirely of clothing and boots but with no bodies, you could see right through their forms. It left me with a queasy feeling that I'm still trying to make sense of.

Indonesian fishermen

Just across the road from the NGV on Princes Bridge, we stood gasping with thousands of other locals and tourists at the amazing artistry of From the Deep. Laser light and water combined to transform the Yarra into a marvellous aqua extravangza. 

From the Deep on the Yarra river

In the end, even though we hung out way beyond our usual bedtimes, there were heaps of things we didn't get to do. We didn't zumba or boot scoot or salsa under the mirror balls suspended above Federation Square. We didn't take a Ghost Tour to scare ourselves witless trying to discover the Phantom of the Theatre. We missed Cat Empire. And sadly, I didn't hear John Safran, the well-known comedian and radio host, preaching a secular sermon on 'Unrest'. Though on second thoughts, as he was scheduled to speak at 6.30 this morning, there were probably lots of insights I could have shared with him on that particular topic from the vantage point of my own tangled sheets. 
But thankfully, with this exhilarating first taste of raging, there's no way the dowager (Melbourne or me) will pass up the opportunity next year.


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