Nearly 8500 individually programmable LED lights will light up the Ports of Auckland tonight as a large-scale contemporary art installation is unveiled.
Dubbed The Lightship, the light wall is 13 metres high and 110 metres long, wrapping around the western facade of the port's new car handling building.
Sitting near Michael Parekowhai's The Lighthouse, it will be visible from Quay St, city wharves, local buildings and the water.
Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson says The Lightship is the company's "present to Auckland" and a thank-you to the city's artists.
"It is designed to support artists and creative thinkers to produce ambitious new commissions and gives them a highly visible platform on which to display their work," he said.
The inaugural commission of The Lightship is Janet Lilo's new artwork, entitled ISLOVE.
It includes the phrase ISLOVE in multi-coloured block letters, spread across the seven giant light panels, interspersed with an image of rippling waves.
"Created for a future defined by the current global pandemic, BLM, social and political upheavals and great loss, ISLOVE refocuses Auckland's harbour as a place of connection and light," Lilo says.
Lilo, who works across digital video, photography, sculpture and installation, often engages with forms of display common to global media and popular culture, such as neon signs and advertising billboards.
Her practice explores documentation as a conversational and social tool for recording time, people and place, with her creations in the city space including the ever-popular banana lightboxes on Karangahape Road.
Lilo's piece will be live from nightfall tonight
until the first week of December, when it will be replaced by a programme of three emerging artists curated by Sarah Hopkinson and Bridget Riggir-Cuddy.
"We are excited to see how artists will respond to this incredible piece of technology, the special character of the port, and rich social history of downtown Auckland," Hopkinson says.