White Night is one of the major events on Australia’s cultural calendar, and RMIT will once again open its doors and showcase stunning light projections from dusk to dawn.
White Night Melbourne (18 February) is when the heart of the city comes alive, pulsating with people of all ages who surge through the streets, laneways and gardens over 12 hours to watch illuminations, installations and interactive events.
RMIT Gallery will transform the facades of Storey Hall and Storey Hall annex with cutting-edge artworks and light projections from 7pm to 7am.
The iconic buildings will morph into enormous canvases as dazzling light projections transform their surfaces.
RMIT alumnus and printmaking lecturer Dr Jazmina Cininas will present a bold new incarnation of her ongoing Girlie Werewolf Project.
What Big Teeth You Have features female werewolves over the centuries morphing the face of the Storey Hall annex.
RMIT Gallery Director Suzanne Davies said the werewolf light projection was very timely in the current political climate and has global as well as local resonance.
"Throughout history, strong women have been persecuted as witches having demonic powers if they defied authority and challenged conventions," Davies said.
"Jazmina’s lupine ladies will emerge billboard sized from the suffragette hues of the building’s facade."
In the early nineteenth century, Storey Hall (then the Hibernian Hall) was leased to the Women’s Political Association, whose purple, green and white flag flew from the rooftop, later inspiring the colour scheme of the 1995 renovation.
This is Cininas’ first foray into light projection, and she has been working closely with an animator and technical team to translate her striking artwork of female werewolves, some of which are represented in the RMIT University Art Collection.
"Generally digital artists start with the building first and then decide what can they can do to animate the building," Cininas said.
"Whereas with my project, the challenge is how to make these images that originated as prints work with the building, particularly with the distinctive façade of the Storey Hall annex which in turn distorts the faces of the werewolves.I want to really engage with the building and animate it in some way that makes sense with the images as well."
Cininas said her images of female werewolves would provide a strong feminist statement in the light of women’s Take Back the Night initiatives as they glare down larger-than-life onto the audience, like sentinels.
"These Girlie Werewolves are going to be three stories high, and say, don’t you dare mess with me!"
Next door, the front of RMIT Gallery will be flooded with a gentler form of hybrid images.
According to digital design lecturer Dr Joshua Batty (who forms half of the MindBuffer duo with RMIT alumni Mitchell Nordine), Thomas’ ‘digital sound sculptures’ that cavort across the façade will flow in a kaleidoscope of colours, creating a mind bending display that reacts to audio input.
Audiences will be mesmerised by the continual dance of Andy Thomas’ 3D animations created using digital technology moving in response to the techno sounds constructed by Nordine.
All three artists recently performed at country Victoria’s Rainbow Serpent Festival of electronic music and art.
"The images projected onto Storey Hall will be spawned by the sound to create a very chill and zen experience," Batty said.
RMIT Gallery will open its doors all night allowing thousands of people to see for one last time the playful, interactive bio-art exhibition Morbis Artis: Diseases of the Arts in which artists explore the metaphor of disease and the relationship between art and science.
Around the corner from the gallery in the windows of RMIT Info Corner in La Trobe Street, RMIT lecturer Dr Darrin Verhagen, who co-curated the Morbis Artis exhibition, will present Viral Screens, nine video works based on ideas of disease and contagion explored in the exhibition.
Heading into campus on Rodda Lane, the RMIT public art program Urban Animators: Living Laboratory uses the New Academic Street (NAS) construction project site footprint as a canvas to present work by new and established creative practitioners including Amanda Morgan's colourful light projection Space Event Movement, which explores the changing city and active urban spaces.
Continue your journey up to Bowen Street where Story Wall will feature a curated collection of animations inspired by and projected onto the 1916 façade of the School of Art.
Created by students, staff and alumni of the Bachelor of Design (Animation and Interactive Media), Story Wall will showcase the outstanding work coming out of one of the most popular animation programs in Victoria.
A range of animated productions - from narrative works to abstract expressions - will feature on the night, all inspired by the building façade and the White Night themes.
Story: Evelyn Tsitas