‘There’s so much beautiful and amazing work, we want to throw the doors open’: Illuminate Adelaide’s 2023 program is bolder and more dynamic than ever

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‘There’s so much beautiful and amazing work, we want to throw the doors open’: Illuminate Adelaide’s 2023 program is bolder and more dynamic than ever

Illuminate Adelaide
Credit: Moment Factory

Yothu Yindi, KLASSIK Underground, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Tourist feature in an eclectic lineup that pushes Adelaide's winter event into new territory.

For those that may be unaware, the Fringe festival in Summer isn’t the only time Adelaide flexes its artistic muscle.

In fact, it gets even weirder and more experimental when the rain clouds arrive, thanks to Illuminate Adelaide, which is back with its most expansive program ever. The major winter event celebrates art, light, music, and technology as the city’s streets, laneways, and architecture meld with free and ticketed events by local, national, and international artists.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Some of Illuminate Adelaides’s highlights include Mirror Mirror, a playground of interactive technology which will have its first Australian experience fresh from its premiere run in Montreal, the transformation of Adelaide’s botanic gardens for Resonate, the 10th anniversary of Unsound, the festival of experimental music and performances from Yothu Yindi, Oneohtrix Point Never, Tourist and more.

We caught up with creative director Lee Cumberlidge before his flight to Montreal to see Mirror Mirror to discuss Illuminate Adelaide’s most adventurous program to date.

“This year, we’re building on what we have done the past few years as we establish Illuminate Adelaide,” says Lee, “the event has many different streams, but this year City Lights, our free program, has more than 40 new interactive installations and artworks focusing on the nexus between creativity, art and technology.” City Lights runs for two weeks (conveniently over the school holidays), offering everyone a chance to get out, embrace winter and explore the city of Adelaide, which is completely transformed with video mapping, projection works, and installations in public spaces.

Illuminate Adelaide saw 700,000 people access the free program last year, and Lee is expecting even more this time around. Once again, the event will infiltrate the Botanic Gardens with another breathtaking transformation called Resonate.

“Resonate is an experience brought to life by a range of technologies and techniques from the Montreal-based multimedia studio Moment Factory with whom we’ve been collaborating each year, but this year is in entirely new areas with a 1.8km trail through the gardens that will no doubt be very popular this year.

“Moment Factory is also working in our Illuminate Pavillion to present their new work called Mirror Mirror. We’ve been involved in this project since its inception; it’s an interactive journey through the human imagination with a series of different experiences giving a chance to play interact and input thoughts and memories, connecting the audience to the artwork and the tech.”

Illuminate Adelaide has always been interested in artists and art forms that engage technology in their practice. “We’re interested in both individual artists or bands as well as creative studios that are working in this space. There’s so much beautiful and amazing work. We want to throw the doors open on this work while helping artists work with technologies they may not have access to.”

One example of this in a previous Illuminate Adelaide program was the commissioning of Adelaide’s Rising Sun Pictures, who have been responsible for visual effects on huge Hollywood blockbusters. Illuminate Adelaide had the studio collaborating with projection artists to bring their skills out onto the buildings of Adelaide and in front of the public.

“We love including both existing works and new commissions for people to see here first in Adelaide, keeping it at the cutting edge of what is going on in this realm.”

Illuminate Adelaide’s music lineup, much like the program as a whole, reflects diversity and accessibility to different audiences. When it came to the music, the goal was to look at a mix of genres, especially with artists that are engaging in technology.

“For us, Oneohtrix Point Never is a fantastic example of an artist pushing the boundaries and including tech in his work. We want to give audiences the opportunity to see this, and his new live show will be just astounding.”

Lee’s musical pick this year is the Ukrainian artist Heinali, who caught many people’s attention after streaming a concert live from a bomb shelter soon after the Russian invasion.

“He’s playing a set drawn largely from music made from the bomb shelter over the past year or more since the conflict started. That’s going to be really, really beautiful. Plus, Yothu Yindi, which will be a celebration of NAIDOC week. It’s been 30 years since they released Treaty, so it’s a poignant time to celebrate that leading up to the referendum, plus showing how important acts like that are to the Australian music scene.”

Illuminate Adelaide’s program is out now and celebrates art, music, technology and invention from around the country and the world, running from June 28th to July 30th with a range of free and ticketed events. Head here to find out more and explore the full program. 

This article was made in partnership with Illuminate Adelaide