Illuminate Adelaide, the light festival that takes over the city’s streets on winter nights, has returned for a second year. There are free and ticketed events throughout July with installations by local and international artists. The festival, which celebrates innovation in art, light, music and technology, includes everything from an artificial intelligence display to a lit-up zoo. So bring the kids, find your best light and enjoy.
Ouchhh Studio Wisdom of AI Light
In an Australian first, Istanbul-based artists’ collective Ouchhh Studio has brought its immersive experience to Illuminate. These visionaries have created more than 50 installations across Europe, the United States and Asia. The scale of their art is so large that an Illuminate Pavilion has been constructed in the city's east to house the entire AI experience.
The AI Light exhibition is split into five chapters, each combining artificial intelligence with other forms of art. Chapter One teaches the AI to mimic the brushstrokes of Renaissance artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci. Chapter Four is a collaboration with NASA in which AI processes the data from the Kepler Space Telescope’s 10 years in orbit, transforming the information from more than 2600 planets into a 3D projection.
The multi-sensory experience runs for 45 minutes, with sessions available from Tuesday to Sunday.
The Adelaide Botanic Garden has been taken over by Montreal-based studio Moment Factory for a second year. After a sold-out season in 2021, the team has created another incredible experience for visitors. The immersive display along a dedicated trail promises to overload your senses by combining special effects, lasers and projections set to an original soundtrack, reimagining many of the garden’s locations. The experience takes about an hour to walk and can be booked for any day except Monday.
Go into Adelaide Zoo as the sun sets and see the animals in a whole new light. Giant illuminated creatures take over the zoo during the festival as the animals sleep. See giraffes, pandas and jellyfish bouncing above you in an array of colour and light. Cahaya the tiger walks around the zoo with the help of puppeteers. The big cat, designed to honour the Year of the Tiger, is also aimed at raising awareness of conservation efforts to save the Sumatran tiger.
You can also check out the real-life zoo residents with after-dark pelican feeding and the Night Creatures Wild Show, featuring nocturnal Australian animals. Light Creatures is on from Thursday to Sunday with entry times of 6.30pm and 7.45pm.
We Will Slam You With Our Wings
Taking over the Mortlock Wing in the State Library of South Australia are seven screens that combine opera and videography to promote a feminist message. Each screen shows a 19th-century colonial imperialistic portrait with one big difference – the powerful white men are replaced with young girls. Adelaide artist Joanna Dudley has repurposed male dictators’ patriotic speeches and classic operatic arias into a feminist warcry to encourage young women to own their voices.
If you haven’t booked any of the events yet but still want to experience what the festival has to offer, walk along streets, laneways and open spaces in the city’s North, East and West precincts from 6pm. City Lights has more than 40 free works, from immersive installations to large-scale activations.
A large portion of the works can be found along North Terrace. There’s a giant I Love Adelaide snow globe surrounding the statue of Sir Thomas Elder, accordions hanging in tree branches creating different harmonies and lights bouncing around on the grass. 2020 Archibald Prize winner Vincent Namatjira projects his installation Going Out Bush onto the Art Gallery of South Australia to bring the Central Australian desert to the city centre. You can even jump on a field of circles that change colour when activated by touch or walk through suspended strings of light.