Bendigo Creek to shine during Enlighten festival

WHAT role does the Bendigo Creek play in modern-day Bendigo?

An art video being prepared for the city’s Enlighten festival aims to encourage people to consider how they interact with the area.

People braved chilly conditions on Saturday to participate in filming for the feature, which will be projected onto the Bendigo Library during the event in August.

Julie Andrews, the project’s creative director, said she was interested in the creek as something that ran through the city.

“It’s almost ignored at times. It’s here, but we don’t often explore it. And it feels almost like we shouldn’t be in the creek when we’re in the creek,” the Bendigo resident said.

“But it’s got so much history, it’s an interesting space.”

She and her crew arranged for people to meet them on the creek side of Lake Weeroona about 1.45pm, where they were recorded walking below the Nolan Street bridge.

“The idea being that the very human connecting nature of walking together and being together in a space gives us feelings of belonging and place and we meet people we wouldn't otherwise meet in a social setting that forms connections, and hopefully friendships,” Julie said.

A film participant walks through the space alongside the Bendigo Creek.

A film participant walks through the space alongside the Bendigo Creek.

The art video is also intended to challenge people’s perceptions of the space.

“The same sort of intrigue around the creek being sort of unfamiliar and interesting is the sort of thing we can do when we project light onto things. Something that is ordinary and banal becomes fascinating and fantastic,” Julie said.

Melbourne University visiting scholar Professor Tim Edensor has taken an interest in the ways in which light festivals are transforming the nocturnal experience of cities.

“Particularly I'm interested in projection work and the way in which it can transform the ways in which we usually experience a building in the nighttime environment,” he said.

“It can make it seem strange... It can bring out particular kinds of features. It can colour it in ways we might not expect, and it might bring out its textures.

“The building then becomes a kind of an interface between image and architecture.”

Enlighten 2016, Conservatory, Rosalind Park. Picture: Julie Andrews

Enlighten 2016, Conservatory, Rosalind Park. Picture: Julie Andrews

Technology has enabled the rise of the light festival, and Professor Edensor said advances in technology would shape how the projection-based art evolved.

“I think people are questioning what can happen next, but the technology we're going to see in this instillation in the library during the Enlighten festival is actually an example of a really new technology,” he said.

“The kind of technology being used here is based on a kind of mathematical equation, apparently, that is going to produce effects we just won’t have seen before. It’s really cutting edge, what we’re seeing here.”

The film crew captured the action from a range of angles, and using a variety of recording equipment.

“I think that acknowledgement and representation of Bendigo during the Enlighten festival is going to be really, really special,” Professor Edensor said.

He said one of the criticisms levelled at White Night in Melbourne was that it was not place-specific.

“In a sense, the kind of projections that take place during Melbourne's White Night could take place anywhere,” the professor said. 

“The work that's going to be carried out here is going to honour the town much more. I'm really excited about that.”

White Night in Melbourne.

White Night in Melbourne.

He believed the day would come when people became used to light festivals, and were no longer as excited by seeing cities illuminated at night.

“Other people have said at the moment we’re using projection primarily for kind of artistic purposes, but there’s a danger that commerce might get hold of this and start to project advertising across the city,” he said.

“So hopefully that won’t happen and nighttime becomes another commercialised space.”

Enlighten is scheduled to take place in the Bendigo CBD, between the city’s town hall and Rosalind Park, from August 29 – 31 and is part of the Regional Centre for Culture 2018.

Bendigo’s first White Night is planned for September 1.