Grand Mix

Imagine, if you will, an austere Henry VIII, circa 1540, singing and bopping to the Bee Gees. The Tudor king is just one of the historic portrait subjects who will be brought to life in what’s described as a “collective karaoke session” on the Art Gallery of SA façade as part of the free City Lights trail. Created by French company Inook, the AI-based Grand Mix experience draws on 18 paintings from AGSA’s collection, including five from the upcoming Reimagining the Renaissance exhibition and other early works such as – a personal favourite – British artist Tilly Kettle’s “Woman with a Muff”. Alongside the Bee Gees’ “How Deep is Your Love”, the projected paintings will sing along to songs such as Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”, Paul Kelly’s “Dumb Things” and John Williamson’s “Gum Tree”. You can get a taster here, and see it in person every night between 5.30pm and10.30pm from July 5-21.

An impression of Grand Mix on the AGSA facade. Photo: Inook

City Lights features installations and projections right across the CBD, with other highlights including ChronoHARP, a giant interactive harp-inspired instrument of light and colour at Festival Plaza; intangible #form, a work by Japanese artist Shohei Fujimoto that uses projections and lasers to create ever-changing forms in Bonython Hall; and The World has Gone Pear Shaped, a 6m-tall inflatable structure featuring detailed 3D images from NASA, which will be on the War Memorial lawns. The Illuminate website has a map showing all the works.


Superluminal gives kids the chance to become mini scientists. Photo: Morgan Sette

Patch Theatre’s interactive light-play installations are always a hit with kids and for this year’s Illuminate artistic director Geoff Cobham and his team have created a new experience at the South Australian Museum. Superluminal is aimed at four to eight-year-olds, who will collect colour-changing lanterns as they enter and are then guided by a performer as they discover invisible UV tracks that reveal animals from different eras ­– including the future – before ultimately getting the chance to create their own mythical creatures. Cobham says he hopes parents will enter a state of wonder alongside their children: “Being in the dark with 29 other people and exploring light, time and animals will be a bonding experience for all ­– like going on a weekend camp in just 40 minutes!” Superluminal is at the museum from July 6 until August 10.

Fire Gardens

Fire Gardens will take over the Botanic Garden. Photo: Andrew Beveridge

This new winter iteration of Fire Gardens will likely already be on their radar of anyone who saw the flaming spectacle presented by France’s Compagnie Carabosse during the 2020 Adelaide Festival. A bonus this time around is that we aren’t suffering quite the same crowd phobia that sparked nervousness during the early days of the pandemic. The 2024 experience will also feature new installations ­­– including a fountain incorporating fire and water ­– and expand into spaces such as the Bicentennial Conservatory and the Palm House. Taking place across 12 nights from July 4-21, Fire Gardens incorporates more than 7000 fire pots, candlelit archways, kinetic sculptures, and live musicians (a guitarist and a bass clarinet). We’re told there will be some additional elements to help visitors keep warm on these chilly nights, too. Read more in InReview’s recent interview with co-artistic director Christian Cuomo.

Fill the Earth

Anthropocene Epoch by Thom Buchanan for Fill the Earth. Photo: Nic Mollison

A giant caterpillar giving birth to green balloons, a man negotiating a door, and a woman creating a garden from dead branches… these are the kind of cryptic scenes audiences can expect to see unfolding on a 3.5m round stage during the 90-minute performance installation Fill the Earth at Nexus Arts. Described as a “communal and meditative experience”, the new work has been commissioned by director and choreographer Juha Vanhakartano. It will incorporate physical performance, visual art, dance and video, and is presented with a team of 12 culturally-diverse creatives. Illuminate creative directors Rachael  Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge say Fill the Earth is an “extremely timely piece” that “asks us to explore and consider how our values, practices and daily rituals manifest in our behaviour and subsequently impact the world we live in”. There will be two sessions each day from July 12-14.

Joep Beving

A highlight of Illuminate’s 2024 music program will be a performance by Dutch composer and pianist Joep Beving, who kicks off the Australian tour of his new show Hermetism at Her Majesty’s Theatre on July 18. Starting out as an amateur musician, Beving reportedly worked on his 2015 debut album in the kitchen at night when the rest of his young family was asleep but has since gone on to become one of the most-streamed living pianists in the world. His latest album draws on the spiritual philosophy of Hermeticism, with promoters saying the live show is a sensory experience which “weaves together deeply evocative piano melodies with captivating, dynamic light installations” by audio-visual artist Boris Acket. Read InReview’s interview with Beving to get more insight into his music.

Other key events in the 2024 Illuminate Adelaide program include Berlin design studio flora&faunavisions’ interactive “digital garden” EDEN, which will bloom across the 150sqm of LED screens of the Light Room at ILA in Light Square; the family after-dark experience Universal Kingdom: Prehistoric Nights at Adelaide Zoo, and experimental music festival Unsound Adelaide. See the full line-up here.

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