Gorillaz, Lit-Up Zoos and Da Vinci-Inspired AI Art: Illuminate Adelaide's Huge 2022 Program Is Here

South Australia's huge winter arts, music and light festival is back for its second year with a jam-packed month-long lineup.
Sarah Ward
Published on April 21, 2022

Australia's cities are lighting up this winter thanks to a slew of dazzling arts festivals — and if you're planning to spend the middle of the year hopping between them, you've now got another destination. While Melbourne's Rising festival, Sydney's Vivid, and Hobart 's Dark Mofo will all unleash their delights in June (with Vivid even starting in late May), Illuminate Adelaide is set to brighten up the South Australian capital throughout July. And, based on its just-dropped lineup, there's plenty to tempt both locals and interstate visitors alike.

Returning for its second year, Illuminate Adelaide is all about creativity, art, music and light, and will unfurl all of the above from Friday, July 1–Sunday, July 31. Topping the bill: Gorillaz, with Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's chart-topping act adding an Adelaide show to their Australian tour, which already includes headlining this year's Splendour in the Grass, plus sideshows elsewhere.

Also set to be huge: Ouchhh Studio's Wisdom of AI Light, a major exhibition that's all about art and artificial intelligence. A multisensory experience, it'll take up a specially designed pop-up exhibition space in the East End of the Adelaide CBD, with quite a wonder inspired by renaissance painters as its centrepiece. Here, AI has been trained to analyse billions of brushstrokes by some of the best artists who've ever lived — with a particular focus on Leonardo da Vinci — and create its own new moving image work.

Ouchhh Studio

The exhibition also includes a number of other pieces by the Istanbul-based Ouchhh Studio, such as art made in conjunction with the Machine Learning Scientists at CERN in Switzerland and with NASA. In the former, called Dark Machine, you'll peer at AI-processed data from subatomic particle collisions — while the latter, Data Gate, sees AI play with data from the Kepler Space Telescope, drawing upon its nearly ten years in space observing 2500-plus planets, more than 530,000 stars and over 61 supernovae.

Still on all things radiant, 2022's festival will welcome back some of last year's big light installations (because peering at shiny sights never gets old). Making a comeback is Light Cycles, which'll once again transform the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with light projections, lasers, sound and special effects, all thanks to Montreal's Moment Factory. And, the Adelaide Zoo will host the return of Light Creatures, so there'll be another round of enchanting interactive animal installations — think: giant tiger lantern puppets, huge rainbow skinks, giant pandas and giraffe lanterns — giving the place an enormous glow.

The City Lights program is returning as well, once again featuring a range of acclaimed artists — and turning the CBD into an after-dark art trail in the process. 2022's version will notch up more 40 free site-specific works over 17 days, spanning creative photobooths, illuminated laundry, 15 giant glowing seesaws and a chandelier harp in various spots around town. There'll also be a 50-metre-long walkway of moving light and mirrors, an interactive geometric LED cube, bouncing glowing orbs, and Vincent Namatjira's Going Out Bush turned into animation and projected onto the Art Gallery of South Australia's facade.

Chandelier Harp, Jen Lewin. Photo by Aaron Rogosin.

Other standouts from the hefty full Illuminate Adelaide program include the Australian premiere of seven-channel video piece We Will Slam You With Our Wings by Joanna Dudley, which takes notoriously sexist speeches from throughout history and reframes them as feminist war cries; the Aussie debut of concert series KLASSIK underground, which pairs classical music with live visuals; and experimental and electronic music celebration Unsound Adelaide.

And if you're already starting to make plans to head along, expect to have a heap of company — last year's fest was impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and wild weather, but still attracted more than 500,000 attendees.

Illuminate Adelaide 2022 runs from Friday, July 1–Sunday, July 31. Check out the festival's website for the full program and to grab tickets.

Top images: Light Creatures, Adelaide-Zoo. Credit: Frankie the Creative. // Futures, part of City Lights // Submergence, part of City Lights. Credit: Rikard Osterlund.

Published on April 21, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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