2 March 2018: Given the task of brightening a corner of Canberra’s CBD for the 2018 Enlighten Festival has inspired researchers from the University of Canberra to install a large, colourful and inflatable artwork in the heart of the city.
The group from the University’s Play Activation Network was challenged to bring colour, light and life to the Alinga Street Bridge, which runs between two buildings in the CBD’s western fringe.
The colourful artwork will be installed at either end of the bridge and features fantastical shapes that resemble alien flowers, fruit or sea creatures which are lit from within.
Play Activation Network researcher and Assistant Professor of Arts and Communication Cathy Hope said the work titled ‘Peak Stuff’ transforms a drab, concrete section of the city into something from another world.
“Enlighten brings so much life into the city, people move around the various spaces looking at projections on iconic buildings or playing with light displays in the city’s parks,” Dr Hope said.
“The artists, Matthew Aberline and Maurice Goldberg from the Goldberg Aberline Studio, are bringing something seemingly from another world to light up a fairly utilitarian part of the city.”
The artists describe Peak Stuff as a reflection on a quote from Ikea’s Head of Sustainability, Steve Howard: “If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuﬀ. We talk about peak oil. I'd say we've hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuﬀ …”
They describe the work as big, bold and sassy, exploring the concept of environmental indigestion from over consumption.
The research team is also involved in developing and implementing an impact study of art installations on the local community and environment and an evaluation for artists and the events’ funding body, the City Renewal Authority.
Dr Hope said Enlighten is a significant festival for the Canberra region and it’s important to gauge the reaction of locals and visitors.
“We want to be able to capture what people feel, think and how they respond to these artistic works. By evaluating their impact we begin to paint a picture of ways to bring more life, interest, playfulness and joy into our public spaces in Canberra’s heart and the surrounding region,” she said.
The Play Activation Network is part of the Play Creativity and Culture Project from the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. The 2018 Enlighten Festival runs from 2–18 March.