Art takes centre stage at Rainbow Serpent

Digital geometry: Art at this year's Rainbow Serpent festival will use technology to catapult installations to new levels of beauty and interactivity.

Digital geometry: Art at this year's Rainbow Serpent festival will use technology to catapult installations to new levels of beauty and interactivity.

DIGITAL technology will take art at this year’s Rainbow Serpent festival in Lexton to the next “evolutionary step”, according to the event’s art director.

Art highlights at this month’s festival include large-scale sculpture such as Soul Ocean, a giant reclining woman made up of geometric parquetry wearing a crown representing the celestial spheres on her head.

Another highlight will be Rainbow Stallion, a six-metre steel rearing horse.

“The stallion is by a Melbourne artist called John Horton and that one is not only an iconic sculpture of its own, it will be a permanent installation at Rainbow. It’s got an endurance frame so it will stay at Rainbow when the event isn’t on,” art director Emma-Lee Luther said.

However, Ms Luther said some of the most inspiring works to be unveiled this year were interactive, based on applications, programs, laser and digital technology, allowing the work to “interact with the audience on a whole other scale”.

For instance, one of the installations, 4Hz by German artist Chargedmind, is an interactive sculpture that invites visitors to place their hands on its wall, reads their pulse, then makes music from their heartbeats.

Ms Luther said although Rainbow Serpent, to be held January 22 to 25, was an alternative festival, she wouldn’t classify the art as particularly “New Age” or “spiritual”.

“In the digital work there’s some reflection of New Age spirituality, but with sculptural pieces there is a more botanical basis or reference to nature,” she said.

“The way people are producing art has taken an evolutionary step in the past five years. A lot of the younger artists that are coming through are using laser and the modern programs that we may not have seen 10 years ago. It’s really inspiring.”

For instance, Metallic Jelly by Melbourne artist Jessica Juniper is an installation where photos have been created using light and chemicals, where participants can see swirling images wobble to sounds and react to mood. The project is “forever-growing”, with new imagery to each show.

Ms Luther said the festival’s various stages were also “really inspiring this year”, with one stage featuring a troupe of clowns that perform a projection with art that looks similar to jellyfish.

Other installations include the Twin Tetrahedrons, a futuristic, large-scale sculpture, and Bamboo Bender, which has both functional and art purposes designed to create optical illusions.

Artists will be coming from the USA, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and the UK, as well as local artists from across Australia and Victoria, Ms Luther said.

Another artistic highlight at this year’s festival will be the Evolve Gallery, described as a “visionary wonderland” showcasing art designed to “connect to our deepest consciousness”.

The Evolve Gallery will feature live painting and performance throughout the festival’s weekend.