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SuperLux: Smart Light Cities shines at Sydney Customs House

Customs House will be shining both inside and out next month with animated projections, illuminated sculptures and a Twilight Garden light-art installation. The SuperLux (Smart Light Cities), a major new exhibition exploring sustainable lighting, from 3 September to 17 October, will feature the work of some of the world’s leading artists working in the ‘smart light’ field.

SuperLux: Smart Light Cities shines at Sydney Customs House


September 10th, 2015

Above: Overview of the Atrium, showing Mike Day’s ‘Radiant City’ dynamic lighting of the Sydney city model under the glass floor. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

“Let’s celebrate the world’s biggest new art movement of the early 21st century … Smart Light Cities,” proposed editor-curator Davina Jackson to guests attending last week’s launch of the SuperLux book and exhibition at Sydney’s Customs House.

Warm and cool white LED lights transform the colonial sandstone facade of Customs House; design by Mike Day with Rick Cale/Xenian. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

More than 200 digital and lighting design experts applauded the City of Sydney’s new show, which comprises five LED light art and architectural works (by Mike Day with his UTS students, Mary-Anne Kyriakou, Damian Gascoigne and Alan Rose), 10 screens of videos surveying outstanding international examples of urban light art, and more than 20 large photographic panels of iconic architectural lighting transformations.

SuperLux editor and co-curator Davina Jackson speaks to the launch audience. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

Jennifer Kwok, manager of Sydney Customs House, speaks at the SuperLux launch. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

SuperLux co-curator and light designer Mike Day at the lectern. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

The videos and photo panels highlighted recent international light artworks surveyed in SuperLux: Smart Light Art, Design and Architecture for Cities – a new monograph edited by Jackson for publishers Thames and Hudson. Designed and produced with Deuce Design, MindConsole and DataScene, the exhibition themes include: City Screens, Architectural Light, Festivities/Fantasies, Transit Scenes, Metroscapes, Monumental Movies, Towers of Lustre and a historical ‘Timeline of Luminous Structures’.

Detail of three videos and introduction signage on the SuperLux: Smart Light Cities media wall. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

Marking the 10th anniversary of the 2005 relaunch of Customs House as a 21st century information centre, the venue manager, Jennifer Kwok, noted that its colonial sandstone facade had become a magnet for digital artists using sophisticated 3D video projection mapping systems, using a virtual (wireframe) computer model developed using 3D laser scans of the real building.


Both above: Twilight Garden, by Mary-Anne Kyriakou, is reminiscent of historic Persian water gardens and comprises 12 translucent, ornamental pillars internally illuminated by colour-changing LED lamps and arrayed on a glossy black ‘reflection pond’. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, later applauded the exhibition. “The growth of smart lighting as a creative field has really changed the role of light in our cities at night, inspiring us to think differently about how we illuminate public spaces. This SuperLux show pushes the boundaries of what’s possible and encourages us to use our limited resources sustainably.”

A SuperLux launch guest inspects one of the ‘Smart Light Cities’ videos at Customs House. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

SuperLux launch guests discover optically arousing videos of light artworks along the ‘Smart Light Cities’ media wall. (Adam Hollingworth/Sydney Customs House)

SuperLux: Smart Light Cities exhibition dates: 3 September-17 October. Sydney Customs House 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay. The SuperLux book is for sale at Berkelouw and other booksellers.


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