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Art After Dark Is Melbourne's New Late-Night Cultural Fest — and It Just Dropped Its Dazzling Lineup

Inspired by Europe’s Night of Museums, Melbourne's newest fest will feature gigs by BRIGGS and Human Nature, late-night 'Doctor Strange' screenings, immersive dome projections and drop-in showings of Soda Jerk's 'Terror Nullius'.
By Sarah Ward
April 29, 2022
By Sarah Ward
April 29, 2022

In Europe, it's called the Night of Museums: an annual evening when leading cultural institutions across the continent stay open long after they'd normally shut their doors, welcoming in patrons for after-dark art activities. In Melbourne, a new event is taking that idea, running with it and rolling it out across the city — with everything from gigs and movies to immersive dome projections and after-hours exhibition access on offer.

That's all on the just-dropped program for Art After Dark, which was initially announced back in March. Back then, Melburnians heard the basics — that the city would be scoring an after-hours extravaganza in May, with State Library Victoria, the NGV, Federation Square, Arts Centre Melbourne, ACMI and Melbourne Museum all involved. That was all well and good and exciting, of course, but the actual lineup is even more dazzling.

Set to run from 6pm–1am on both Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, Art After Dark will feature limited-time-only experiences — both free and ticketed — that span live music, visual and performing arts, and food and drink. The Social Crew is producing the inaugural event, which is presented by Visit Victoria. And the aim, unsurprisingly, is to get both locals and visitors to the city to play tourist at Melbourne's cultural venues.

At State Library Victoria, things will be particularly bright, all thanks to Midnight at Pink Lake. It's a 360-degree immersive projection that'll light up the La Trobe Reading Room — so yes, looking up is well and truly in order. And, it'll be paired with a themed program called Dream State, which features mindful workshops, music, roving performers, giant chess, and food and drinks. Basically, the venue is going all out on a visual and aural experience, calling it "part guided meditation, part poem, part chant, part song".

Next, at NGV Australia, Ron Mueck's Mass from the 2017 Triennial will return — giant skulls and all — accompanied by pop-up poetry readings, choirs and DJs. And, at NGV International, light projections will transform its bluestone exterior thanks to QUEER: Stories from the NGV Collection. Also on the bill: Hannah Brontë's video installation EYE HEAR U MAGIK 2020, as well as access to the whole venue itself, with everything free to access across all levels.

Over at Fed Square, BRIGGS is headlining Fed Square Live on the Friday night, with Kee'ahn, Soju Gang and Izy in support. And, that's where you'll be able to peer up at Aussie-first art installation Constellations — which'll see artist Joanie Lemercier's monochrome, vector-based aesthetics paired with an electronic soundscape by producer Paul Jebanasam. Also, for something sweet, Fed Square will also be doing free takeaway hot chocolates, coffees, s'mores and glow-in-the-dark fairy floss.

Arts Centre Melbourne is also hosting live performances, going nostalgic with Human Nature on the Saturday night. DJs will play from the balcony, food trucks will pop up and the Australian Music Vault will stay open, complete with curators and tour guides diving into the local music scene.

At ACMI, drop-in showings of Soda Jerk's phenomenal Terror Nullius will be a big highlight, as will free Oskar Fischinger exhibition Raumlichtkunst — featuring one of the first multimedia projections ever made. The screen-focused museum is teaming up with Collingwood's beloved Bar SK, too, for a room of innovative and interactive entertainment that's all about Aussie game developers. And, it's collaborating with PHOTO 2022 International Festival of Photography on Gillian Wearing: Editing Life, with the British artist in focus.

Triceratops at Melbourne Muserum. Photo by Eugene Hyland

Last but by no means least, Melbourne Museum is letting folks see its triceratops after dark, and doing projections, hosting food trucks, setting up pop-up bars and inviting DJs to spin tunes. Or, over at IMAX, you'll be able to dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with late sessions of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Art After Dark is expected to see thousands of punters descend on the city for a late-night culture fix — a move that's sure to be welcomed by Melbourne's hard-hit creative industries as they continue through their post-COVID recovery phase.

Art After Dark takes place at State Library Victoria, the NGV, Federation Square, Arts Centre Melbourne, ACMI and Melbourne Museum from Friday, May 13–Saturday, May 14. Head to the event's website for further details and tickets.

Top image: Performers sing with Mass by Ron Mueck, 2017 on display at NGV Triennial 2017 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Eugene Hyland.

Published on April 29, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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