We ventured into the inaugural White Night in Melbourne with 4 young people, two sixteen year-old girls and two ten year-old boys, each of our kids had brought a friend.
Because we had kids with us we did that nerdy thing of arriving right on time, in fact slightly before the official start – and really – arriving early for an event that was supposed to go all night was, predictably a little disappointing. When a show is all about the lights, its only ever going to be good after dark.
Walking down to Federation Square from a meal in Chinatown, we could see some settling up just off Russell St, but we had strung out during the walk and dawdlers had to keep up and not duck down side streets and get lost.
The teenagers had been shopping in town and were keen for a sit down, so we headed to St Paul’s Cathedral which was listed as a venue. I had never been into St Paul’s, so that was worth it just for the stickybeak- such beautiful woodwork on the ceiling – majestic. 7pm ticked up, the cathedral filling – and ticked past – that was when it occurred to us that any laser show would be better after dark, which was still more than an hour away. So, shoppers rested, we decided to check out the National Gallery.
Working our way across a not yet too crowded Federation Square where some zumba dancers were trying, with not a lot of luck, to engage the crowd, we hit our first success for the night. “Red Centre” by Konstanin Dimopoulos, not part of the White Night event, but it drew the boys like moths to a flame, because people were playing it like a tall, bright red percussion instrument, reaching grasping, rattling, banging. It sounded great, clunks, bangs, resonate thrums.
Heading on down St Kilda Rd we passed by the Arts Centre and let the boys join in the clambering on “Forward Surge” by Inge King while we watched the passing parade.
Continuing on the the National Gallery Victoria, “The Commoners” by Jompet Kuswidananto caught the teenagers attention, the missing bodies, the potential for noise (it wasn’t active when we went in). “How does it work?” What is it meant to do?”
Further on in the Great Hall, “Bouquet Final 2” by Michal Blazy beckoned.
What a hit! It has foam! What’s not to love? We spent awhile there. It was enchanting.
It was quite mesmerising as the billows of foam grew before your eyes, and yet at the same time imperceptibly. It was so hard to catch it actually growing. There was so much of it, huge walls of growing bubbles, and I don’t think they grew at a constant rate either. I suspect the pumps were variable.
The boys had a ball. It was all the fun a giant bubble-machine should be. You were allowed to play with any bits that had fallen off, and a lot did.
We had a few goes of foam volleyball, where you had to blow and keep the foam in the air.
They boys were sticky with it by the end.
From there we headed back to the Yarra and Birrarung Marr, where there were a large number of things to interact with, from creepy blow-up purple clowns to “From the Deep” laser show another highlight of the night.
I asked the 10year old to dictate something about what he thought of White Night.
The White Night was OK. I particularly like the laser show on the river, because of the way that they incorporated water and light to make the shapes and the colours.
I also really liked the foam thing in the gallery. It was really fun to play with, the bits that fell off, they were so foamy and bubbly.
How would you describe it?
Really really Awesome. And bubbly and foamy.
How would you rate it?
Seven out of 10.