Light event review: Resonate and Mirror Mirror, Illuminate Adelaide

Innovative and enchanting, Moment Factory's 'Resonate' and 'Mirror Mirror' light up the city as part of Illuminate Adelaide.
Green light shines down from the sky in thin streaks with a people of people standing beneath.


The immersive art experience Resonate by Moment Factory transforms the familiar space of the Adelaide Botanic Garden into an enchanting world of light, mist and sound. Part of Illuminate Adelaide, Resonate is a welcome, invigorating break to the chilly gloom of Adelaide winters. There is a sense of a midwinter solstice celebration about the experience. The light display is both an acknowledgement of winter’s grace and power, and a reminder that the long nights won’t last forever. Resonate invites us to ‘feel ourselves deeply embedded within the natural world’ and aims to capture ‘that ineffable feeling – a state of resonance‘.

Upon entering the exhibition, a sound reminiscent of a singing bowl flows through the garden, while the first illuminated installation rotates before viewers. Throughout the gardens, vibrant light installations work in harmony with the natural environment. The use of light and sound creates the illusion of another world. It also augments the natural flow, plant life and landscape of the Botanic Garden. 

Highlights of the exhibition include Beginnings, where coordinated pillars of light dance over the garden’s lake in a hypnotic display, and Winterings, where magical, light-bearing spheres float through the atmosphere of the rainforest conservatory, beaming dancing pillars of light across the forest floor. The final display, Aliveness, includes a vibrant soundtrack as lights flare over the garden’s trees, concluding the event with an uplifting sense of hope.

A stunning experience for couples, friends and families alike, you can cap off the event with a visit to Base Camp Bar across the road. 

Resonate runs to 30 July at Adelaide Botanic Garden; tickets $40-42.

Mirror Mirror

Also by Moment Factory and part of Illuminate Adelaide, Mirror Mirror is an indoor light exhibition – a fantastic option for rainy weather. Atmospheric, innovative and surreal, Mirror Mirror has a choose-your-own-adventure format, including a choice of three different coloured doors that glow in the dark and lead you on varying paths through the installation. Like falling through Alice’s Looking Glass, Mirror Mirror takes you into a wonderland of contrasting darkness and light, secret pathways and vibrant colours.

‘Mirror Mirror’ at Illuminate Adelaide 2023. Photo: Tyr Liang.

Stand-out elements of the exhibition include River of Now, where currents of light create the illusion of water flowing over the floor and which respond to the audience’s footsteps, and Forest of Echoes, involving mirrored pillars and roving light beams. There is also an innovative and interactive installation harnessing the power of AI to generate personalised poetry. This then becomes part of the light display right before your eyes.

Overall, Mirror Mirror is a striking and magical experience that lingers in the mind long after the exhibition finishes.

Read: Exhibition review: What Is Your Gov’ment Name: Olana Janfa, Immigration Museum

The queuing and entry experience is the only element that could use some improvement. Despite instructions to arrive early, audience members were kept waiting past the event start time. They then had to wait outside the event doors in the rain while one of the staff members explained the exhibition’s rules. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a microphone, and the audience was positioned right beside a large loudspeaker playing music from the exhibition. This made it very difficult to hear the information.

It would be possible to streamline this part of the event to both improve the audience’s experience and assist the event organisers in conveying the necessary information more clearly. Despite this hiccup, the exhibition itself was pure magic, and the staff were helpful and clearly committed to the experience. 

Mirror Mirror runs to 30 July at Illuminate Pavilion; tickets $36-49.

View the full Illuminate Adelaide 2023 program.

This article is published under the Amplify Collective, an initiative supported by The Walkley Foundation and made possible through funding from the Meta Australian News Fund.

Lyn Dickens is a writer and editor living on unceded Kaurna land. She is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of The Saltbush Review, and the winner of a 2022 Editorial Mentorship with Liminal and Writers SA. Her writing has been published in Australia and internationally, appearing in Kill Your Darlings, Meniscus, and Mascara Literary Review. Lyn’s novel-in-progress was awarded a 2021 Write It Fellowship with Penguin Random House. Twitter: @lyn_dickens