UK-based luminaria artist Architects of Air have brought their inflatable mazes, titled Aborialis Luminarium, to Illuminate Adelaide’s 2023 program.
Illuminate Adelaide brings international artists to the city’s CBD and beyond, supporting the local economy with a reported $44.8 million in economic activity, including the spend from almost 10,000 visitors to the state.
We sat down with Architects of Air director Alan Parkinson to learn more about Aborialis and his first winter-visit to Adelaide.
Have you created an installation for Illuminate Adelaide before and how did your partnership with it come to be?
No, we haven’t created an installation before for Illuminate Adelaide, but have toured our Luminariums to Australia for many years.
We are delighted to be premiering the Aborialis Luminarium at Illuminate Adelaide in our first Australian presentation since 2020.
Credit: Video provided by Illuminate Adelaide
What can audiences expect to see and experience during their session at Arborialis?
From the information they’ll have seen beforehand, they’ll be expecting to see light and colour in an unusual, rounded environment.
What they’ll actually experience will depend on the individual – a child may just want to explore the labyrinth to discover exciting places, a parent may just want to lie back and relax in the womb-like embrace of the pneumatic cave, another adult may be transported by the vividness of the light and may fall into reflection about the phenomenon of light and the nature of being.
How do sound, light and colour work together to create Arborialis?
Arborialis is an architecture of light where colour is located in such a manner as to try to generate a sense of wonder.
The sound comes later – for the Arborialis installation we have the Song of Danu – a musical composition by Michael Morris that draws on the sounds of nature as a homage to the Celtic earth goddess, Danu. In the music one can hear bird songs to complement the arboreal theme.
Why did you choose canopies and forests, or arboreal for that matter, as the main inspiration and where did this idea come from?
I wanted to create a sense of forest – of how one can feel at home in the shelter of woodland. The use of very abstract leaf motifs also resonates with my inspirations of Islamic art and architecture.
What do you hope audiences learn and gain from their experience at Arborialis?
I hope they will have experienced a sense of beauty that will stay with them. Many people who have experienced a luminarium as a child will remember it and seek out the same experience for their children in later years.
What challenges come along in the production and bump in of an installation like Arborialis?
We present our Luminariums all over the world, and of course the weather is always a challenge, from the snow, to high winds, to hot summers. We have been fortunate enough to set up the Arborialis here in Adelaide avoiding most of the recent wet weather.
What other installations at Illuminate should audiences visit?
Mirror Mirror is lots of fun for everyone.
What are you looking forward to while you’re in Adelaide?
In the past we have visited during the summer and at Festival time. It is so great to return to Adelaide and see how vibrant the city is, even in the heart of winter. We are looking forward to exploring the rest of the Illuminate installations around the city, and hopefully finding time to visit a winery or two.