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15 May 2019

Five installations you can't miss at Vivid Sydney

For the fourth year in a row, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney will once again light up for Vivid Sydney as part of the Light Walk, a three kilometre stretch from The Rocks to the Sydney Opera House and through the Garden.

For three weeks, 15 installations designed by acclaimed artists will take visitors on a delightful journey to discover the beauty of our natural environment. Here are our top five must-see installations featured on the Light Walk and in #VividGarden.


This retro-futuristic contraption that mysteriously landed in the Garden is an interactive installation overgrown with "alien plant matter" that reacts to sounds and space. KA3323 takes the form of a satellite dish where you are encouraged to engage with the contraption to discover its origins and purpose. 

By using a joystick on the control hub visitors are invited to hunt for signals in the night sky by moving the dish and filtering sounds through the radio spectrum. When an incoming source is received, the display blinks into life and triggers the foreign plant matter to move. 

KA3323 encourages viewers to look beyond the night sky and wonder what secrets lie beyond the stars.

KA3233 vivid sydney garden light walk
KA3323 in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Country represented by installation: Australia

Firefly Field

Experience the beautiful, unpredictable natural movement of fireflies with a mesmerising installation of 500 flying light points that simulate these nocturnal lampyridae. They glow, dart and hover above the grass in an ever-changing bioluminescence dance reflected on the ground.

This minimalist arrangement consists of LED light pods on superfine, barely visible steel rods that gently flex and spring back with the weight of the pod, giving each firefly its unpredictable and natural movement.

firefly fields garden sydney light walk
Firefly Fields in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Country represented by installation: Netherlands

River of Light

Positioned between the CBD edge and the Sydney Harbour, River of Light provides views of the skyline and city lights as a backdrop.

The installation is comprised of two pools of ‘water’, formed from clear Perspex and a 55 metre long cascade of pulsing LED lights. By day, the clear installation shimmers as it reflects the light and colours of surrounding grass, trees, and sky. After sunset, the 'pools' flow in a wave of fluorescent greens, aquas and blues with the 'water' appearing to run down the hillside toward the sea.

river of light, sydney, garden, vivid, light walk
River of Light in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Country represented by installation: Australia

Austral Flora Ballet

Each year an artist of international renown creates an original artwork for projection onto the Sydney Opera House that captures the spirit of the iconic landmark and celebrates the culture of Australia.

This year, Los Angeles-based Andrew Thomas Huang is the torch-bearer entrusted with the Lighting of the Sails.  Huang’s new piece underscores the connection between the human body, architecture and the natural world through the lens of Australia’s botanical treasures.

Eora: Broken Spear

The Sydney Opera House’s head of Indigenous programming Rhoda Roberts is curating ‘Eora: Broken Spear’, a projection work that pays tribute to the country which we live upon and its original custodians. It reminds us all to reflect, to call Country, to read Country and listen to Country. 

Around First Contact, when the men carried their spears for the seasonal time to fish from the rocks and the Gadigal women used their handlines, singing, laughing with the children and rowing their Nawis across the harbour, all came to gather amongst the wisdom keepers.

Some young men raised their spears in battle against the invaders, but our men of high degree stepped forward, with a different greeting for the visitors. Our knowledge keeper carried his spear but the tip was broken; the sign of peace and respect.

Eora: Broken Spear
Country represented by installation: Australia

More information 

Share your experience with us by using #VividGarden and don't forget to tag @RBGSydney! 

If you are looking to experience the Garden and the Vivid Sydney installations in a unique way, historian and horticulturist Paul Nicholson will be leading a Garden Twilight Tour on 30 May. The tour will conclude near the harbour at a private entrance near the installations. Find out more information here.

Installations at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Category: Events
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