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The Light in Winter

The Light in Winter will bring together local and international artists for a nightly program of free events, performances and exhibitions, culminating in the Solstice Celebration on the true wi...


Now in its eighth year, Federation Square’s annual winter program The Light in Winter, directed by arts luminary Robyn Archer AO, will bring together local and international artists for a nightly program of free events, performances and exhibitions, culminating in the Solstice Celebration on the true winter solstice, Saturday 21 June.

The Light in Winter has had seven remarkable incarnations and the eighth will shine even brighter. Melbourne’s winter behaviour has clearly changed as we now see so many people visiting Fed Square and enjoying the program from dusk into the evening. This celebration of light and enlightenment really has made a difference to Melbourne.” Robyn said.

The three-week program will illuminate Federation Square after dusk with the world premiere of Radiant Lines – an interactive, illuminated, large-scale, sculptural shrine from UK design wunderkind Asif Khan (London Olympics + Sochi Winter Olympics), in his first Australian commission.

“In 2014, arising from the many conversations which take place in preparation for this event, the theme of cycles and circles of life arose. It clearly connects to Asif’s new work. That led to the notion of shrines, and the role that shrines play in the city, in community and in individual moments of memorialisation and remembrance. 

It’s befitting that Federation Square – given its proximity to the Shrine of Remembrance, the spires of St Pauls and the Arts Centre and the shrine to sport that is the MCG – will host an array of illuminated shrines this year, including an opportunity for everyone to enter a custom-built video booth to design their own” Robyn explained. “We are also very proud to announce the inaugural Kirra Illuminated Glass Award, a $15,000 prize and exhibition of finalists, in collaboration with The Light in Winter”

Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Melbourne-based media artists, Cake Industries have collaborated to create Anachron – three illuminated moving sculptures combining electromechanical mastery and kinetic technology. Co-commissioned by City of Melbourne through the Arts Participation Program.

The tradition of the Indigenous campfire Leempeeyt Weeyn, which burns continuously throughout The Light in Winter, returns to the Square. Designed by Vicki Couzens and programmed by Rob Bundle, it extends a welcome from the traditional owners and creates the hub for a rich program of fireside events.

For the first time in the program’s history, the much-loved tradition of the Solstice Celebration coincides with the program finale and the date of the true winter solstice, 21 June. The free, mid-winter celebration marks the longest night of the year and the new journey toward spring.

Celebrating diversity and harmony, the Solstice Celebration will feature an array of performers including Cambodia Space Project, New Dub City, Black Orchid String Band and the Gift of Light Orchestra. Collaborative dance performances will crescendo throughout the evening with Asanti Dance TheatreFederation of BhangraGroove Dance and Burmese, Chinese and Mexican artistic groups.

Additional program highlights will include Remembering in Melbourne: Monuments, Memorials and Shrines; a forum that explores the many commemorative sites in Melbourne and new ways of memorialising our various histories; and in a Melbourne-first, a rehearsed reading of Tim Winton’s harrowing and absorbing new play Shrine, performed by students from Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts.

Other events taking place every night from dusk are a series of short films on shrines, creative interpretations of shrines from The Light in Winter’s community of artistic and cultural groups; an evening dedicated to Melbourne’s young artists with dedications to BMX bikes, hip hop music and even bejewelling of their “pocket shrines” (their mobile phones); an exhibition of the inaugural Kirra Illuminating Glass Award; an audio-visual shrine to the analogue television; a program of campfire activities; a maze of handmade timber boxes containing unique landscapes created by children at ArtPlay; and a custom-built video booth for visitors to record what or who they would dedicate a shrine.

Radiant Lines by Asif Kahn

The magnificent circular sculpture, made of 40 rings of raw aluminium that appear suspended in space, will be activated by a chorus of handbells at dusk, illuminating hundreds of LED lights that mimic the pulsating nature of bioluminescence. As visitors approach the sculpture, they’ll step on invisible triggers that circulate its edge, sparking new orbits of light that will create a mesmerising moiré pattern. Moving under its illuminated rings into the centre of the sculpture, visitors will experience the magnitude of Radiant Lines, its dynamic energy and its immersive light.

Asif Khan’s award-winning London design studio has built an enviable reputation for pushing the boundaries of architecture and technology in innovative and unexpected directions. He travels to Australia following the enormously successful MegaFaces Pavilion at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, where visitors’ “selfies” were projected onto the world’s first three-dimensionally actuated LED screen on the façade of the Pavilion, giving rise to it being dubbed a Mt Rushmore of the Digital Age.

Anachron by Papermoon Puppet Theatre + Cake Industries

Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre and Melbourne-based media artists, Cake Industries have collaborated to create Anachron – a combination of movement, light, acoustic sound and whimsical handmade puppetry.

Comprising three illuminated electromechanical kinetic sculptures, Anachron’s shrines to Past, Present, and Future, create a circular loop of life. They explore perceptions of time and the way we try to enforce linear logic to what is an intertwined relationship that defies absolute definition.

Papermoon Puppet Theatre is a partnership between artists Tri Sulistyani and Iwan Effendi who combine multimedia and puppetry to recreate personal accounts and harrowing stories from a dark period in Indonesia’s history.

Media artists Jesse Stevens and Dean Petersen are Cake Industries, an experimental art outfit that uses electromechanics to create self-regulating works that investigate ideas of culture, reality and future. This collaboration has been co-commissioned by City of Melbourne through the Arts Participation Program.


Leempeeyt Weeyn’ | 1 – 22 June | The Square | 24 Hours | Free
The Light in Winter opens each year with the first sparks of Leempeeyt Weeyn’, the Indigenous campfire designed by Vicki Couzens. Burning continuously until 22 June, the fire extends a welcome from the traditional owners of this land and is a hub for a rich program of fireside events.

This year the events are led by Rob Bundle and will explore the relationship between elders and the younger generation. See storytelling performances by Uncle Larry Walsh and Uncle Herb Patten, choirs singing in traditional language, spoken word by Yung Philly and hip hop performances by Meriki Hood.  Full program of events available online at fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

On The Big Screen | 1 – 22 June | Big Screen | 5pm – 5.30pm | Free
View a series of short films showcasing poetry, dedications and memorials within shrines, curated by Andrew Garton.

Federation Handbells | 1 – 22 June | The Square | 5.30pm – 5.45pm | Free
See the Square light up each evening with a chorus of chimes by the Federation Handbells. For the very first evening, watch a special performance by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre musicians with professional percussionists led by composer Stephen Falk and presented by Museum Victoria.

Radiant Lines | 1 – 22 June | The Square | 5.30pm – late | Free
See the magnificent, illuminated and interactive sculpture by London-based architect, Asif Khan in his first Australian commission. Radiant Lines is an exploration of line, rhythm, velocity and volume and is designed especially for Federation Square. The circular sculpture is made of forty rings of raw aluminium that appear suspended in space. At dusk, hundreds of LED lights illuminate in a rhythm that mimics the pulsating nature of bioluminescence.

WAT | 1 – 15 June | No Vacancy Project Space | Tue – Sat 11am – 5pm | Sun 12pm – 5pm | Free
Explore an immersive audio-visual installation at No Vacancy Project Space that is a shrine to the analogue television. Created by Melbourne audio-visual artist Claudio Tocco, a series of CRT televisions are stacked like a Buddhist Stupa showcasing visuals from religious and secular shrines in Melbourne, while synchronisers visualise the sounds recorded at Buddhist shrines in Hong Kong and Thailand.

Kirra Illuminating Glass Award Exhibition | 3 – 30 June | Kirra Galleries | 10am – 6pm | Free
Browse a stunning showcase of internally-lit glass art by a selection of established and emerging Australian and New Zealand artists. The exhibition reveals the winner and the 41 shortlisted artists from the inaugural Kirra Illuminating Glass Award, established by Kirra Galleries and Federation Square for The Light in Winter. The Award was judged by Robyn Archer AO, Kate Brennan, Grace Cochrane AM, Matthew Martin and Peter Kolliner OAM.

DIY Shrine | 1 – 22 June | The Square | 12am – 2pm + 5pm – 7pm | Free
Step inside the custom-built video booth and share how you will build your own shrine. Watch videos of others sharing their shrine designs at fedsquare.com/diyshrine

Shrines Alive | 5 – 8 + 12 – 15 June | The Square + St Paul’s Court | From 5.45pm | Free
See performance-based interpretations of shrines by The Light in Winter’s community of artistic and cultural groups. Full program of performances available online at fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

Fresh Light – Melbourne’s Young Artists | Saturday 7 June |The Square | From 5.45pm | Free
Join Melbourne’s young, emerging artists as they showcase their interpretations of shrines with a celebration to BMX culture, hip hop music, mobile phone bejewelling and lots more. Full program of activities available online at fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

Anachron | 13 – 22 June | St Paul’s Court | 5.30pm – late | Free
Explore three sculptural shrines of handmade puppetry and robotic theatre by Papermoon Puppet Theatre from Indonesia and media artists, Cake Industries from Melbourne. Each has its own identity representing past, present and future, yet together they create a circular loop of time and life. Co-commissioned by City of Melbourne through the Arts Participation Program. Opening night is Friday 13 June from 6pm.

Totems + Wishing Poles | 19 – 21 June | The Square | From 5.30pm | Free
Explore handmade wooden shrines by The Light in Winter’s community of artistic and cultural groups. Like a small garden of shrines, Melanesian, Micronesian, Polynesian and Korean totems will sprout up and Afghan Wishing Poles will beckon you to cast your own wishes. All totems will be complemented with more installation, drumming performances and live carvings for the Solstice Celebration on Saturday 21 June.

Remembering in Melbourne: Monuments, Memorials and Shrines | Monday 2 June | Deakin Edge | 6pm – 7.30pm | Free
Learn about the commemorative sites in Melbourne and discuss if there are new ways people can memorialise their various histories. The forum is led a panel of expert speakers and presented as part of the Melbourne Conversations series. Bookings at fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

NOCTURNAL at ArtPlay | Saturday 7 June | ArtPlay on the Hill at Birrarung Marr | 5.30pm – 7pm | Free
Wander through a maze of handmade timber boxes containing unique soundscapes. The installation is created by children at ArtPlay with direction from Victorian artists Michael O’Dwyer, Emah Fox and Nilgun Guven.

SHRINE by Tim Winton | Sunday 15 June | Deakin Edge | 4.30pm – 5.30pm | Free
In a Melbourne first, enjoy a rehearsed reading of Tim Winton’s harrowing and absorbing play, Shrine. Readings performed by the students from Deakin University’s School of Communication and Creative Arts. Bookings at fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

The Creative Process | Monday 16 June | ACMI + The Square | 6pm – 7pm | Free
Learn how Papermoon Puppet Theatre Company and Cake Industries have worked with local artistic and cultural groups to create the detailed and enchanting art installation, Anachron. Led by The Light in Winter’s Artists Director Robyn Archer, the public forum is open to your questions about the creative process. Bookings at fedsquare.com/thelightinwinter

Audio + Tactile Tour | 20 + 21 June | Meet at the Melbourne Visitor Centre | 5pm – 7pm | Free
Experience The Light in Winter with a guide who provides audio descriptions of the performances and leads tactile interactions with the installations. Bookings essential, please phone 039655 1900 during business hours.

Solstice Celebration | Saturday 21 June | The Square | 5pm – 8pm | Free
Join The Light in Winter’s much-loved tradition of the Solstice Celebration, which falls on the date of the true winter solstice for the first time in eight years. The free, mid-winter celebration marks the longest night of the year and the new journey toward spring with art, music, dance and food.

Beneath the rhythmic lights of Radiant Lines and among the whimsical carousals of Anachron, see all of The Light in Winter’s community of artistic and cultural groups come together. Explore all of the shrine interpretations and participate in a light procession. The Solstice Celebration is the grand finale of all the artistic and cross-cultural collaborations and a celebration of diversity and harmony.



June 1, 2014
June 22, 2014


Fed Square Pty Ltd


Federation Square
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia + Google Map

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