Big City Lights*

Southport is lighting up 'TRON'-style at this free Gold Coast festival, which features more than 39 works in 40-plus locations.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 22, 2024


Welcome to the grid on the Gold Coast. When the Big City Lights* festival makes its 2024 comeback, one of its 39-plus artworks at more than 40 locations will take its cues from TRON. At the Southport TAFE Building, thanks to Mick Ludvik at Event Lasers, beams will turn the skyline into electric pathways — and you'll feel like you're plunging into the 80s-born sci-fi franchise before third film TRON: Ares hits cinemas in 2025.

Other artists involved across not only the lights and installations, but on the live music and performance bill, include Joan Ross, Justene Williams, Judy Watson and Vernon Ah Kee, as well as Erik Griswold, Yuriyal Bridgeman, Lawrence English and Julian Day. Their contributions vary; Ross' Always the Last One at the Party will be projected across the surface of Australia Fair Tower, exploring the impact of colonialism in Australia with plenty of fluorescent yellow hues, for instance. Williams is giving Hutong Gardens Light and Breath, a video of skating dancers and psychedelic colours, as inspired by Johannes Itten's colour wheel.

Griswold's The Tides Advance on Australia Fair will also be a must-see as it rolls through Southport's streets, taking waves well beyond the ocean. The piece ponders a time when the sea reaches Australia Fair and the lanes around it, with the work featuring music that's in synch wit the IRL waves at Southport Spit.

Or, thanks to experiential design consultancy PropMill, Undercover Worlds will add an extra layer to the landscape on Nerang Street.

When Big City Lights* debuted two years back, it ran as a four-day pilot program. Now, after attracting more than 15,000 attendees and proving a success, it will span Friday, June 21–Sunday, July 7, 2024, running Friday–Sunday each week. The location is still Southport, clearly, and the focus remains experience stunning art via a self-guided program that gets you walking around the Goldie. You'll just have longer to enjoy it.

Big City Lights* is also still free — making the price right to head along, including to scoot down the highway from Brisbane. As the above standouts make plain, attendees will get immersed in audio-visual experiences, such as projections popping up in unexpected locations, towering large-scale digital works and 3D mapping. You'll also see the Southport CBD's facades and laneways in a whole new light quite literally.

Top image: Art Work Agency, Claudio Kirac.


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