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What to See, Eat and Explore at White Night Reimagined 2019

This year's new-look after-dark arts festival features three nights of immersive installations, feasts and performances.
By Libby Curran
August 19, 2019

What to See, Eat and Explore at White Night Reimagined 2019

This year's new-look after-dark arts festival features three nights of immersive installations, feasts and performances.
By Libby Curran
August 19, 2019


This year's new-look after-dark arts festival features three nights of immersive installations, feasts and performances.

Melbourne's late-night, citywide spectacular of light, art and performance has entered a new phase of existence, reborn as a three-night extravaganza for the new White Night Reimagined. Making its debut from August 22 to 24, the arts festival boasts a jam-packed, multi-sensory program.

On this year's bill, you'll find myriad ways to warm those cockles amid the festival's late-night winter happenings — from a music-filled after-hours party at Melbourne Museum to a breathtaking acrobatics show descending upon Birrarung Marr. Trees come alive with artistic installations, smash-hit films are brought into new dimensions and interactive artworks offer fresh perspectives.

Here are our pick of must-try experiences that'll help you get the most of the White Night Reimagined debut program.

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    Art meets science for this eye-opening, immersive Treasury Gardens installation, which is shining the spotlight on just how pollution is impacting different corners of the globe. Created by British artist Michael Pinsky, the series of five interconnected Pollution Pods will transport you to Norway’s Tautra, London, New Delhi, Beijing and São Paulo, dishing up some confronting truths in the process.

    Each translucent, dome-like pod features a unique cocktail of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, replicating the air quality and environmental factors of one of these cities. You’ll kick things off enjoying the crisp clean air of Norway, while the other pods together share a much less cheery story.

    Image: Michael Pinsky

  • 8

    Already a high-impact showstopper on screen, George Miller’s award-winning Mad Max: Fury Road takes on a life of its own as it’s launched into reality for an interactive spectacular of performance, music, film, striking visuals and special effects at this year’s White Night Reimagined. Running hourly across all three nights of the festival, the world premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road features a 15-minute live show and exhibition, bringing the post-apocalyptic action flick to life.

    Prepare to be wowed by some of the movie’s famed vehicles — from the Doof Wagon to the Razor Cola Interceptor — as they descend on the Melbourne Museum forecourt. Snippets of film footage and video will be splashed across the facade of the Royal Exhibition Building, too, matched to a soundtrack, dazzling special effects and larger-than-life performances.

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    Imagine a towering, 16-metre-high spherical structure with a breathtaking 41-performer acrobat show playing out in, on and around it, and you’ll see why dramatic live performance Globe has proved such an international hit.

    Acclaimed Dutch performance company Close-Act is bringing its extraordinary show to Australia for the first time, debuting at Birrarung Marr across three nightly shows for White Night Reimagined.

    You’ll step into an OTT fantasy, as Globe creates the world as seen through a child’s eyes. Expect a cast of over-sized otherworldly characters starring in a riot of circus, music, dance and projection. After this one, the idea of humans flying is sure to feel that little bit closer to reality.

    Image: Gerard Dubois

  • 6

    Created by French artist, designer and master of audience interaction Antonin Fourneau, this Treasury Gardens experience is one for the creatives, young and old. The enchanting Waterlight Graffiti features a wall made up of thousands of LED lights, which illuminate when touched by water and revert to darkness once dry.

    White Night punters of all ages are invited to experience the mystical sensation of using water to draw light — scrawl a glowing message to that special someone, or have some fun with environmentally friendly graffiti. It’s said that the lights shine brighter the more water is thrown on them, so pack a poncho and some gumboots and get ready to make a bit of a splash.

    Hot tip? Rainy nights make for some pretty spectacular Waterlight Graffiti fireworks — we suggest keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

  • 5

    You’ve seen the movies countless times and maybe even scored tickets to the stage production, but even diehard fans won’t have experienced Harry Potter quite like this. Imagery inspired by hit play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will take on an energy of its own, as it’s splashed, larger than life, across the facade of the Old Treasury Building during White Night Reimagined.

    You’ll spy captivating designs by English artist and illustrator Peter Strain, nodding to that famed fictional Patronus Charm (expecto patronum!). So expect to see ethereal stags, does, otters and even Jack Russells float across the historic building.

    The DAE White Night creative team has teamed up with large-scale projection experts The Electric Canvas to capture the movie-inspired magic for this one-night event.

  • 4

    We can’t think of a much better late-night fusion than Melbourne Museum’s after-dark adults-only party, and Australia’s favourite music trivia show. On Friday, August 23, the legendary RocKwiz is making a special guest appearance for the Museum’s August edition of Nocturnal, as part of White Night Reimagined, as the pair teams up to deliver a rocking night of eats, drinks, talks, tunes and exhibition-hopping.

    Not only will you score exclusive night-time access to the Revolutions: Records and Rebels exhibition, but host Brian Nankervis and The RocKwiz Orkestra will dish up a special live show paying homage to some of the retro songs and artists featured throughout the show. Expect a soundtrack of old-school hits, plus fun RockKwiz questions centred around that revolutionary era from 1966 to 1970.

  • 3

    White Night Reimagined truly is an event for all the senses, dishing up an array of artistic, musical and culinary experiences. And it all kicks off with a bang on Thursday, August 22, as the Royal Exhibition Building is transformed into a winter wonderland feasting hall. The White Night Feast promises an indulgent evening with three courses created by Melbourne chef royalty: Vue de Monde’s Hugh Allen, Annie Smithers of Trentham’s acclaimed Du Fermier and dessert queen Philippa Sibley.

    The decadent three-course affair features creations like a cider-braised duck, pork and pistachio terrine and an oozy golden syrup cobbler with spiced quince. This will be paired with iced schnapps and mulled wine, as well as Victorian wines and beer. Expect, also, to roast chestnuts and dip things into hot fondue throughout the night.

    The wintry feast is expected to sell out, so be sure to book in advance for this one.

  • 2

    Curated by boutique music agency I Heard A Whisper, White Noise offers up a program of choice aural delights to complement the rest of the festival’s striking visuals and illuminations. On Friday, August 23, and Saturday, August 24, it goes venturing down laneways and into some of Melbourne’s best-loved music venues, to deliver a high-energy showcase of emerging talent plucked from across the country.

    Trip through a broad range of genres, from upcoming acts like CLYPSO, The Merindas, DJ Colette, Pjenné & Millú, as they grace stages at Section 8, Jack & Bones, Boney, Globe Alley and newcomer Radar.

    Image: Section 8

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    One of Carlton Gardens’ grand old trees will be transformed into a living artist’s canvas for a stunning First Nations installation, Story Tree. The work of award-winning Wathaurung/Wadawurrung artist Deanne Gilson, with song and voice work by fellow Wathaurung artists Marlene Gilson and Barry James Gilson, the 15-minute illumination trips back in time, sharing the Bundjil creation story of the Kulin Nation.

    Nab a patch of earth and embark on a journey of discovery, as the show of colour and light brings to life the tale of the six mystical beings that helped Bundjil the Eagle Hawk create the land, waterways, plants, animals and humans.


White Night Reimagined runs until midnight on Thursday, August 22 and Friday, August 23, and until 2am Saturday, August 24. Check out the full program and see showtimes and maps over at the White Night Reimagined website

Image: Nocturnal by Cesur Sanli

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