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The art installation hanging by a thread

A team of Kiwi creatives have come together to create a light installation featured at Australia’s largest festival for light art. We sit down with one of the creatives, Rebecca Paul of Folly to talk about the installation that will be seen by at least two million people.

Hanging 17 metres above a motorway overpass in Sydney is a piece of New Zealand.

As the only Kiwi featured at the 2023 Vivid Sydney festival, Rebecca Paul, Co-founder of creative studio Unlabelled Studios and Co-director of the Kiwi contingent team Folly says she is proud to represent New Zealand across the ditch this year.

With a mother nature-inspired theme of ‘Vivid Sydney, Naturally’, Paul and Folly were honoured to get their installation featured alongside hundreds of others from across the world.

The Vivid Sydney festival is the largest pioneer of light-based art and culture festival in the Asia-Pacific region and is set to feature artists from across the world including Ella Mai, Yaeji, Cat Power and many more.

Dubbed ‘The Mechanics of Spring’, the team use a combination of audio, sound and of course lighting design to tell a story based on the “mysterious aerodynamic phenomenon” that is helicopter seeds, hummingbirds, cicadas and bumblebees, the icons of spring.

“It’s the secret to the propagation of seeds, the pollination of flowers and the hovering of hummingbirds, insects and bats,” says Paul.

Rebecca Paul and Jessica Mentis.

Paul says that she and Folly Co-director and Unlabelled Studios Co-founder, Jessica Mentis were heavily inspired by the mystery of helicopter seeds they saw in an article in Live Science by Dutch and American scientists.

“They found that that swirling seed creates this tornado like vortex and that that same mechanism allows some insects, bats and hummingbirds to hover,” explains Paul.

This beautiful mystery inspired Paul and Mentis to make use of motors to emulate that effect and so uniquely, the installation uses technology to make this a reality.

Read more: Kiwi artist’s work to be projected on Eiffel Tower and Times Square

“In a technical way this is an artistic interpretation of rejuvenation and joy,” says Mentis.

“Each of those elements has developed a lot over time and has become computerized, and so now what we are able to do with those realms, have married them together in a much more seamless way,” explains Paul.

The Folly team are using mechanics such as motors and integrate them with the lighting display to emulate spring.

Sounds are made to reflect the sounds of nature, while the wings of the installation are made to float, spin and dance.

This is all controlled by a programme that gives the installation a choreography to do and goes along with the time of day.

“Sometimes you think this is a simple idea, and it’s not till you delve down deeper that you’re like ‘actually this is really technically complicated‘,” adds Paul.

“That’s what Folly is, it’s pulling it together.”

‘The Mechanics of Spring’ is situated in Darling Harbour on Tumbalong Boulevard, as part of the Light Walk.

Though this is the installations debut, the team hope more people across the world will be able to see ‘The Mechanics of Spring’.

“Now that we’ve got it to Sydney, then we know that we can send it anywhere and we’ll continue to develop the ‘Mechanics of Spring’ in terms of what it can do, and it will continue to be a project, like an ongoing project that we’ll work and modify and improve.”

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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