Each of Australia's capital cities has a different shtick. Melbourne's just happens to be a 24-hour culture — or, at least, the closest Australia has to it. It's got all-night public transport on weekends, late-night opening hours for the National Gallery of Victoria's new Triennial and the city's White Night festival will return for its annual all-nighter in 2018.
If you haven't been down to White Night before, here's how it works. From 7pm, much of Melbourne's CBD is closed to cars. From then on, the streets give way to pedestrians, who are free to wander between temporary installations, live music and on-street projections — as well as in and out of galleries and cultural institutions — up until the sun comes up at 7am the next day. It's the Australian version of Nuit Blanche, which was founded in France in the 80s.
Next year's festival — which will shut down the city for 12 hours on the evening of Saturday, February 17 — features work from a tonne of both local and international artists. Expect to see neon pups, two Burning Man installations and one laneway covered in snow. There are far too many works to list, but here are a few highlights you'll want to look out for.
- A giant shimming silver net that will hover above Federation Square for White Night (and two weeks afterwards).
- Drag queens singing from balconies above Collins Street.
- A laneway filled with virtual neon 'dogs' and another filled with falling 'snow'.
- A tree that lets you write temporary messages on it with the light from your phone
- Two installations straight from Burning Man: a fire-breathing serpent outside Melbourne Museum and a giant mechanical insect that doubles at a DJ booth.
- Mini gigs performed from multiple balconies above Swanston Street.
- A 360-degree dome in Alexandra Gardens that will feature mesmerising projections.
- Stories from Australian detention centres projected onto the NGV's façade.
White Night will also head out to Victoria's regional centres. It will return to Ballarat on March 17 for a second year, and will take to the streets of Bendigo and Geelong for the first time later in 2018.