Vivid Sydney 2017 will feature giant tree frogs, creepy eye balls and a light show controlled by the crowd

By Benedict Brooke

A visual of 2017's Sydney Opera House light show by designer Ash Bolland. Photo / Supplied
A visual of 2017's Sydney Opera House light show by designer Ash Bolland. Photo / Supplied

A giant yellow tree frog searching for an equally giant worm across the Sydney skyline, multi-coloured glowing kiwi birds foraging in the Botanical Gardens, a shark called PJ and bizarre creatures projected onto the sails of the Opera House.

For a festival which apparently has no overarching theme, this year's Vivid Sydney sure will have a thing for the animal kingdom.

There's also creepy eyeballs that follow you as you wander around, vertigo inducing optical illusions and skyscraper-sized light displays eventgoers can control themselves.

Billed as the world's largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid welcomed 2.3 million visitors to Sydney last year.

Sometimes, it felt like they'd all descended on Circular Quay at once. Still, at least it's not concentrated on one evening like Melbourne's White Night.

This year it will be held from 26 May to 17 June with light sculptures and illuminated buildings flooding the Opera House precinct, Taronga Zoo, Martin Place, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, Kings Cross and, for the first time, Barangaroo.

French electronic duo Air and US singer Beth Orton are on the bill for the Vivid Live program.

Speaking at Vivid's launch event at the Museum of Contemporary Art, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sydney could be proud of an event that ploughed A$110m in the economy annually.

Organic Vibrations at the Museum of Contemporary Art by Julia Gorman and Danny Rose. Photo / Supplied
Organic Vibrations at the Museum of Contemporary Art by Julia Gorman and Danny Rose. Photo / Supplied

"It's no doubt the word Vivid has become synonymous with Sydney and for 23 nights the world focuses its attention on Sydney as an incubator of creativity and the exchange of new ideas."

Creative Director Ignatius Jones said 2017's festival would be the biggest yet.

"This year's program is truly a blockbuster.

"Vivid has no single theme," he insisted. "Instead it has thousands (of themes) to celebrate the creative industries of the world. Australia, NSW and Sydney."

Whether planned or not, there's no doubts animals have been a huge source of inspiration.

So what are the Vivid musts for 2017?

Sydney Opera House sails

The highlight for many is the illumination of one of Australia's most loved landmarks. This year acclaimed cinematographer, editor, and graphic designer Ash Bolland is in charge. The sails of the house will be bought to life by a series of imaginary creatures interacting with the environment, morphing and moving between each other.

Martin Place

Urban Tree 2.0 at Martin Place by artists Ample Projects. Photo / Supplied
Urban Tree 2.0 at Martin Place by artists Ample Projects. Photo / Supplied

The city's financial heart will be a relaxed space with food and drink served alongside giant light installations. One of the favourites from 2016, an enormous tree projected onto the MLC Centre will, be rebooted as Urban Tree 2.0. A giant yellow tree frog will crawl across the concrete high above the street searching for a tasty worm.

Royal Botanical Gardens

Glowing kiwis in the Royal Botanical Gardens by artists amigo and amigo. Photo / Supplied
Glowing kiwis in the Royal Botanical Gardens by artists amigo and amigo. Photo / Supplied

An expanded light trail will take visitors through the heart of the harbour side gardens. 'Birds of Lumos', inspired by the rare Rowi species of the New Zealand kiwi, will come to life as they glow and pulse with colour. While, 'Dipping Birds', giant three metre illuminated sculptures, will change colour as they dip back and forth into a pond. Quirky installation 'You lookin' at me?' will see glaring eyes peering up from the soil follow passers-by.

Taronga Zoo

Lights for the Wild at Taronga Zoo, will return featuring giant animal light sculptures including a swarm of buzzing bees, and a giant interactive Port Jackson shark called 'PJ'.

Barangaroo

'Trapdoor' by the Jason-French Spinifex Group. Photo / Supplied
'Trapdoor' by the Jason-French Spinifex Group. Photo / Supplied

Vivid's newest precinct Barangaroo will introduce a path of installations including 'Trapdoor' an optical illusion that could see visitors thinking they are teetering on the edge of a terrifying crevice into the centre of the earth.

- news.com.au

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