New light cast on city

SOPHIE LEGGETT
Last updated 13:56 20/08/2014
Marcus McShane
KENT BLECHYNDEN/FAIRFAX NZ

LIGHTS ON: Artist and lighting designer Marcus McShane will soon brighten up Wellington's waterfront as part of the Lux festival.

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Organisers behind the Wellington Lux light festival are crossing their fingers that stormy weather won't again impede the waterfront's illuminated installations.

The free festival will run from August 22-31, between 6pm and 11pm, and will feature 32 works from local and international artists.

Chris Bennewith brought Lux to Wellington in 2011, after it was founded in Oslo, and says this year's festival will be the biggest yet. Last year it attracted close to 15,000 visitors, but Bennewith hopes this year there will be at least 50,000.

"A lot of [the festival] is about digital and interactive work, as well as new technology," he says. "Not a lot of forums deal with that in New Zealand at the moment . . . I saw a gap."

Bennewith says the project is about invigorating and enlivening the city, encouraging people to look at places in a different way.

After the storm that cast a blight over last year's festival, he remains hopeful.

"The festival stood up amazingly last year, considering the damage in Wellington," he says. "Wellington weather is so unpredictable, but we're keeping our fingers crossed."

An artist hoping for at least one night of not-so-perfect conditions is lighting designer Marcus McShane. He has created one permanent installation and six pop-up works, Unfinished Things, one of which is a series of light boxes projecting stencils into the sky and relies on cloudy weather to be visible. "They'll pop up overnight, then disappear the next day."

His permanent project, Hikitia, is an LED installation incorporated into the barge of the same name on the waterfront.

The festival will also feature works by artists Johnson Witehira, Jon Baxter, Johann Nortje, illustrator and architect musician duo Nonotak and Massey University students.

The display will begin at the TSB Bank Arena, go along the waterfront to the lagoon, down Opera House Lane and Eva St.

Lux is collaborating with Wellington On a Plate for DeLux Dining, so festival-goers will be able to enjoy offerings from restaurants and cafes along the Lux festival trail. For more information, visit lux.org.nz.

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- The Dominion Post

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