LUMA - A festival preview

Bethany G Rogers
Tue 30 Jun 2015

LUMA - A festival preview

Lighting up Queenstown during this year’s Winter Festival was a flash of The Southern Light Project, ‘LUMA’.

The pilot project showcased the work of Auckland based designers Angus Muir and Alexandra Heaney ahead of next year’s fully fledged festival set to be held in June 2016.

If it wasn’t for Winter Festival, June could be a very dark time of year for Queenstown. The short days and the weather’s current penchant for sub-zero temperatures mean that the shiny inside of pubs or whacky Winter Festival activities are the preference.

Particularly for Northern Hemisphere folk accustomed to gaudy Christmas lights brightening their winter; baby, it’s cold (and dark) outside in June – so all shiny art installations are most certainly welcome.

LUMA's stunning light installations – two on the beach and two in Church Lane had passers-by wowing and instagramming this week (24th-28th June 2015).

‘Shroud’ was a bright canopy of lights between trees on the beach. It could be seen all the way from the top of the gondola and had people sunbathing beneath it in the sub-zero temperatures.

‘Field’ comprised of tall mirror-like pillars, which invited interaction. Most afternoons, there were more fascinated people milling between them than pillars alone. So the effect produced reflected happy faces and alpine scenery all round. In the evening, some of pillars put on a light show, fading and brightening and changing colours while the effects bounced off the other, plain pillars. 

On a usually dull slice of wall down Church Street, the very modern looking ‘Ordered Chaos’ shone in lattice-shaped formation illuminating the cars parked beside it. It was a loud piece of work with the boldness of an inner-city art installation; kinda refreshing alongside Queenstown’s typical ‘chocolate-box’ cuteness.

Hidden just around the corner, ‘Digital Wattle’ wins the award for the most-splashed-across-social-media. Orbs planted on long black poles changed from pinks, blues and whites to a mix of bright, lolly-like colours to the delight of many snap-happy fans.

The pilot project was just a taste of the illuminations set to ignite the town June 2016. The focus is on transforming spaces as well as encouraging interaction – something the four pieces Queenstown sampled over Winter Festival certainly did.

Queenstown already has a plethora of great art organisations, galleries and events, but it’s time to bring art into the dark, night-time streets. 

So next year, skip the ski season and binge on the art.


Images by James Allan Photography - check out his funky facebook page here

About the author

Bethany G Rogers

Freelance writer who travels lots, eats lots and lots and doodles a bit.

Originally from Newcastle, UK, I became a happy inhabitant of the Queenstown bubble in 2013. A prolific writer, I have been shortlisted for my creative fiction, write for local and international publications and often think about finishing that novel I started a while ago. When I'm not writing, I'm exploring, snowboarding, boxing or sampling the best eateries/coffee-ries in Queenstown.


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