Sunday, 10 March 2013

Canberra gets all lit up

The title makes a small nod towards the famous BBC commentary on the 1937 Spithead Review.  Fortunately, for many reasons, this blogger was not as lit up as the commentator was in 1937!

Most of what follows is from the Architectural Projections component of the 2013 Enlightened Festival in Canberra.  This is an effort to provide an event to bring tourists to Canberra in Autumn in the same way Floriade does in Spring, and in view of the number of non-Anglo voices I heard it must be succeeding.  In my opinion it certainly deserves to do so.

Before getting to that however here is a bit of natural lighting courtesy of sunset.

The Australian Parliament House catches some rays.
So does the American War Memorial at Russell.
This is a detail of the figure at the top of the column. This makes it reasonably obvious that it is actually a Bald Eagle.  However from some other angles it looks like a head with two very tall ears, leading it being known as the Bugs Bunny War Memorial!
 The sun began to set over the Brindabellas ....
 ..and we headed off to start our touristising at the National Gallery.  As we moved along the path beside Lake Burley Griffin the crowds built up.  At the normally relaxed coffee shop I was reminded of a Barry Humphries comment about England being the country where two men and a dog would queue for a six-stall dunny.  Here we have two dogs and a few people queuing for a coffee.
The NGA used the projection to show some promotional images from their current Mad Dwarf exhibition.  They also had a Parisian cafe going on, with singing en Frog, together with a lot of paper lanterns (I believe supposed to be referencing the old lights beside the Seine).
 The ball looked particularly attractive in the coloured lights.  (So far this manifestation of the ball has avoided being struck by lightning as was the first version.)
The National Portrait Gallery had interesting patterns, which didn't as far as I could see connect at all to the material inside the institution.
Heading up towards the Old Parliament House (OPH - now the Museum of Australian Democracy) a couple of balloons were being inflated.
 They then arose on tethers.
 The reason for the tethers was the trapeze performers suspended below the baskets!  A magnificent idea.
 OPH was, as usual the best of the illuminations.

I particularly liked this version as the graffiti and splotches of paint reminded me of visiting Leipzig and noticed the traces of paint bombs over the busts of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin at the University.  (Our visit was after reunification.)
 Another queue.  I must have been in a nostalgic mood since this one caused me to think when I first arrived in Australia there were no Thai restaurants to speak of.  Now they are common and even run by people called Joe!
I didn't get an image of the best projection onto the Science Museum (aka Questacon) and the later ones seemed to miss the point by focussing on the commercial achievements of CSIRO rather than making  interesting and amusing designs.  This sort of summarises my feeling about this place - but it seems very popular with the punters in general.

On to the National Library.  Again very colourful, and with clear links to Library.
 The title of this image was "Quiet.  This is a library!"
Between OPH and the Library we had walked through the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, which is quite an institution in Canberra (at least until the Mad Monk assumes power in September).  It was a bit dark there and the signs hard to read.  However this one caught my eye and my flash.
Right on, brothers!


Jeni at Northern Rivers Dreaming said...

Lovely to see the images of Canberra - and my former workplace the NGA - lit up. Thank you for posting them. We left Canberra four years ago and still miss everything but the weather.

Re the NGA globe, did you hear about the time a hot air balloon and basket and occupants hit it lolol?

Flabmeister said...

Thanks for the comment Jeni. This year theballons have been doing all sorts of weird thing, of which the funniest was hitting the Treasury building.


Jeni at Northern Rivers Dreaming said...

LOL thank you for that link. It was wonderful. I spent over a decade worrying about balloons hitting the sharp bits of art works in the gallery's sculpture garden. Particularly Burt Flugalman's Cones:

I used to watch the balloons come in so low and it was obvious they often had little control. And the tops of those upright Cones are very sharp. I had a recurring nightmare of a balloon basket impaled on one. Or two. Or three. LOL.