Promoted as the world’s largest festival of lights, music, and ideas, the 2017 edition of Vivid Sydney encompasses 12 Sydney exhibition precincts, ranging from Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Kings Cross, and the Sydney Opera House to the Botanical Gardens, Chatswood, The Rocks, Martin Place and Taronga Zoo.

UNSW Art & Design students, alumni and staff are once again contributing to this massive celebration of creativity. In the lead up to the event this year here is a selection of projects, exhibitions, installations and events by UNSW people.

Spectral House, opening 26 May at 6pm in The Rocks, is an imaginary and abstracted ‘house’ reflecting the architectural history of the area.  Complete with old-style rounded windows, a cast-iron balcony, ornate gates, decorative architectural details, and traditional masonry, Spectral House is a high-tech work of art expected to create a lingering, ghostly impact on viewers.  Spectral House is created by UNSW Art & Design graduates, Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter, through their company, mcdermottbaxter.

Landscape of the Mind, opening 26 May at 6pm in East Circular Quay, is a sculpture that explores deeply personal experiences of anxiety – what it feels like and what helps – through body map drawings, charting experiences, emotions, and physical sensations that may be difficult to express verbally.  The project is a collaboration between the Drawing Book Studios, the Black Dog Institute, and amigo & amigo, and is curated by UNSW Art & Design graduate, Natalie Robinson.  

Chromesthesia, opening 26 May at 6pm in The Rocks, is an immersive installation that encourages participants to experience the convergence of sound and light, based on a neurological condition called chromesthesia that causes those affected to involuntarily correlate sounds with an experience of colour.  The artwork is created by Harry Hock and UNSW Art & Design graduate, Jonathon Bolitho

Gulliver's Swift Travel Service, opening 26 May at 6pm in The Rocks, recreates the bold adventures in Gulliver’s Travels, made accessible to audiences through four free-floating doorways. This interactive installation celebrates the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan Swift, author of the classic satirical fantasy. The artwork is the brainchild of Digital Mango Labs working in collaboration with three practicing artists, Jonathan McEwan, Phil Gough, UNSW Art & Design graduate, Chris Bell.

Creative Careers is a special event (taking place 3 June 10.30am – 12pm at the Art Gallery of New South Wales) addressing the big questions that creative practitioners have such as how to maintain creative practice and pay the bills, and, how to achieve a balance between creating artwork while holding down other jobs.  The event will feature a panel discussion with four artists working across different platforms who have devised various solutions to their career challenges.  Panellists include Nicole Monks, Bree Pickering, Bek Conroy, UNSW Art & Design graduate Abdul Abdullah, and Alex Wisser. The conversation will be facilitated by artist Nat Randall.

Cause & Effect: Artist for Social Change (opening 27 May 8 – 10pm at 107 Projects in Redfern) is a launch and exhibition which aim to explore current and pressing social issues faced by Australian society including War & Conflict, Environmental Destruction, Racism, and Islamophobia.  The launch of the exhibition will involve a Q&A with participating artists Andrea Srisurapon, Mandy Schöne-Salter, Marwa Charmand, Miriam Cabello, UNSW Art & Design graduate Sherine Tan, and Tia Kass.

Following on from the exhibition will be the Art & Social Cause Forum (taking place 3 June from 3pm – 5pm at 107 Projects in Redfern) wherein academics, arts workers, and directors of NGOs will discuss the purpose and themes of the show, and how artists can play a more active role as agents for social change.

Supernova, opening 26 May at 6pm at Bulletin Place, Sydney, is a largescale installation that enables city-dwellers to experience the beauty of a star-filled night sky.   Using an array of cantilevered umbrellas, this installation represents the sudden and bright birth of a star that then fades back into a ‘Milky Way’ of shifting canopies.  Supernova is created by the artist collective Turner and represents artists, Carolina Alvarez Arellano, Claudio Mantovani, Shewanna Mendis, Gabriel Duque (UNSW graduate), Pablo Codina, Alex Tran, Roberto Rizzo, Dean Van Der Merwe, Aaron Hogan, and Nat Ma

Amicabiliter Interventus, opening 26 May at 6pm in Circular Quay, explores themes of isolation and connectivity through examination of commuter traffic, train stations, and social media networks. The artwork maps the movements of passengers standing on a train platform, and gives the viewer brief insight into the lives and movements of specific passengers before the next train comes along.  The creator of this artwork is a UNSW graduate, Stuart Aslett.   

The Unnoticed, opening 26 May at 6pm in The Rocks, converts a hidden dark alleyway into an immersive experience of light, colour, and texture. The installation encourages reassessment of the familiar, the overlooked, or the unnoticed in order to discover something vibrant and new.  The Unnoticed is created by the GLEAM Collective, Marsha Levina, Eduardus Andrew, James Sulaiman, Jenny Wong, and Kristina Grasiella in collaboration with Steven Bai, UNSW graduate, Ivan Chen, and Anthony Zeater.

Crystallise, opening 26 May at 6pm in Campbell’s Cove, is inspired by the works of LA street artist Colette Miller.  It’s a sprawling, lighting-based mural landscape, comprising multicoloured triangles and diamonds, which at first glance appears to be a mosaic of randomly generated colours and patterns, however, continued observation gradually allow viewers to see different forms within its surface. Crystallise is the creation of UNSW club CREATE and all collaborators are current UNSW students including, Yunzhen Zhang, Christopher Ho, Alison Zhang, Randy Tjang, William Weng, and Guoyu Chu.

Light of Thoughts, opening 26 May at 6pm at Macquarie Place Park, is the physical embodiment of bright ideas. It’s a giant brain that sits waiting for participants to stimulate it and thus discover what happens during different types of thought processes.  Contributing artists are from the artist collective Novo-See, which includes UNSW graduate, Shidi Luo, Tong Jia, Hongji Lin, and Joe Peng.