Ballarat's White Night on September 21 will be bigger and better than anything seen before, says outgoing artistic director David Atkins.
The 2019 event will be expanded to take in Armstrong and Mair streets and Civic Hall, which will be home to a giant eye and reflection pool, along with more projections, more acts and more performances spread throughout the city than previous years.
"This is my last Ballarat White Night so I'm going all out to make sure no one is going to do a better one," Mr Atkins said at Friday's program launch.
The program features three international acts, who are also part of White Night Melbourne this month, more than 70 projections, installations and performances, and a strong contingent of works from local artists.
"There's a strong Ballarat flavour to this year's White Night. This year the artistic program has 22 works commissioned and 76 artists engaged who are either based here in Ballarat or personally connected to Ballarat," said Buninyong MP Michaela Settle.
Last year more than 60,000 people flocked to the Ballarat CBD for White Night, including 15,000 people from out of town which Wendouree MP Juliana Addison said generated $5 million for the local economy.
"Regional White Night was born here in Ballarat with the very first one in 2017, which we were honoured to deliver - it was a huge success, 2018 exceeded our expectations and we hope 2019 will do the same," Mr Atkins said.
He holds high hopes that the 2019 event, which will run from 7pm on September 21 until 2am on September 22, will draw even more people to the city. It will be the first time the event has been held at this time of year, with the 2017 and 2018 White Nights taking place in March.
"It's being staged on the same day as the BFL grand final which is a great opportunity for many sporting people to flock in to our CBD on a great weekend of activity," said Ballarat mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh.
"We're a city of adventurous people, so we expect to see plenty of footy fans continuing the BFL grand final celebrations into the evening alongside tens of thousands of new and returning visitors."
SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF WHITE NIGHT BALLARAT 2018 BELOW
"We expect this September version (of White Night) to be as spectacular, as magnetic as the other two have been."
The theme of this year's event, which is spark, was inspired by the magic of a single spark and how it can ignite imagination and creativity.
Colourful projections will again transform some of Ballarat's most iconic buildings including the Bank of NSW facade, Ballarat Town Hall, Post Office Gallery, Craig's Royal Hotel and more.
Mr Atkins said highlights of the program include:
- Dream Engine's Heliosphere, an acrobat connected to a giant helium balloon which will hover above Armstrong Street
- Deadly Questions, which will be projected on to the Bank of NSW facade, featuring the voices of Aboriginal Victorians and showcasing the artwork of local artist and Wathaurung (Wadawarrung) elder Marlene Gilson.
- Iris by 3dsense at Civic Hall, an installation featuring a large-scale projection of a human iris. The projection shows a model of a human eye magnified a thousand times reflected in a water pool and with sounds to create the illusion of an underground dimension.
- The Guardian, an imposing 10m long, 4.5m lion-like creature that will patrol along Lydiard St controlled by 10 puppeteers. Created by A Blanck Canvas, the creators of the White Knight Messenger, the Guardian's body will shimmer with crystal-like shards that glow and change colour as it moves through and responds to its environment.
- A collection of short works created by artists who are living with a disability, From Feelings, is a play on words that captures the most beautiful and intense moments. A string of imagery, with no particular beginning or end, building layers that portray a reflection of the theme.
- Stephanie Wallace and Ballarat Tech School are set to engage your senses and celebrate the creative potential the city's young female engineers with Action Reaction - an interactive Rube Goldberg machine integrating physics with technology created by Stephanie Wallace and Ballarat Tech School.
- Cherubim on a Sunday Drive Through Hell is a grotesque biblical allegory, in which seemingly innocent cherubs are seen going for a Sunday drive through hell, surrounded by a gaudy, manufactured Garden of Eden, replete with plastic flowers and artificial lighting, blissfully ignorant of the man-made hell that surrounds them. Three multimedia installations commenting on humanity's wilful ignorance and lack of action regarding our casual relationship with burning fossil fuels and the resulting impending climate doom.
- There Is Nothing You Can Do To Hurt Me, is a sculpture of a giant Sumo Wrestler, his face replaced by the emoji for anger and his body covered in hand painted tattoos depicting famous explosions from art and history. This work has only ever been shown once before and is made by a Japan based artist, Shohei Otomo, the son of Japanese author, illustrator and Anime creator Katsuhiro Otomo.
- Amigo and Amigo's Sound Cloud, a huge inflatable cloud that audiences can enter to hear stories about the weather.
The 2019 White Night Ballarat program is online with more to be added in the coming weeks.
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