Festival Review: Light Cycles, Illuminate Adelaide

Lighting up Adelaide’s Botanic Garden’s with a magical night-time experience, Light Cycles uses light and music to amplify and transform the beauty of nature.
Light Cycles, Photo: Terra Lumina

The moment you enter the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Light Cycles transports you to another world. Vines, smoke, lights and an uplifting soundtrack combine to create a mixed-media passageway that gives the illusion of being submerged in the fleeting moments of daylight.

Lit up in a golden haze glimmering through the treetops, the pathway leads you into the sunset, giving the feeling of stepping into the closing of the day and into the revelatory wonders of nature at night. The perfect beginning to an unearthly experience.

Featuring an original soundscape created by multimedia studio Moment Factory, in collaboration with Montreal indie-folk band The Barr Brothers, Light Cycles magically complements the natural setting. Visitors are taken through a night-time journey, following a digital art trail of nearly two kilometers in which video projects, light effects, lasers, smoke, and soundscapes enhance and transform everything around you.

The further you continue down the dimly-lit path, the more wonders you are greeted with. Forest Frequencies tunes into the hidden wavelengths of the forest. Channelling the environments past and present through a swirling vortex of LED strips and dynamic sound effects, the installation eloquently signifing the search for a frequency.  

Once in tune, the path takes you into Crystal Grove. Inspired by recent findings that show the many ways trees are able to communicate with each other, this installation imagines these exchanges in a visual and musical language. Each tree along the path has its own musical signature, represented by the colourful notes blending harmoniously with the forest floor.

Reflection Lake, the real highlight of the journey. The lake appears calm as small rays of light (representing the first rays of dawn) break through the fog. Suddenly, a wave of laser beams flows across the site, cumulating in an epic moment of reflection and movement.

One of the final installations is The Hearth, inspired by the timeless power of the bonfire. Set against the botanic gardens iconic Palm House, this installation creates a gathering place full of colourful ever-changing light that intertwines with a collective voice of a chorus. The projection immolates a sense of community and togetherness, beautifully closing out the experience.

If you’re looking for a cute date idea or a family outing with a difference, Light Cycles is the perfect winter event. The installations reimagine the botanic gardens into a wonderous forest from another world, giving you a memorable look into the life of mother earth.

Light Cycles *
The Adelaide Botanic Gardens
15 July to 1 August
Light Cycles is part of Illuminate Adelaide

*Due to high demand and multiple sold-out sessions, Light Cycles in the Adelaide Botanic Garden has been extended by a fortnight, with a new closing date of Sunday 22 August 2021.

Giselle Bueti has written for publications such as The Advertiser, The Adelaide Review, RIP IT UP, BMA magazine and Yewth Mag. Previously, Giselle worked as Arts Editor for The AU Review and Content Growth Editor at ArtsHub. She is based in Melbourne, Victoria.