Visitors to Federation Square’s annual winter festival lined up to enter a confessional-like video booth that allowed them to reflect on the festival theme of ‘shrines’.
Each year, The Light in Winter festival at Federation Square presents a program of art, music and performance based on a theme chosen by the artistic director, Robyn Archer AO. This year, the focus was on shrines and this was expressed through two international commissions; a huge, interactive light sculpture called Radiant Lines by UK architect Asif Khan and a series of sculptures of electromechanical theater and handmade puppetry by Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre, in collaboration with Melbourne-based media artists, Cake Industries.
At The Light in Winter’s heart is the participation from more than 20 local artistic and cultural groups, who each interpreted the theme of shrines with installations, music and performance. With collaboration, participation and interactivity the key focusses for The Light in Winter, Federation Square’s Marketing Team were charged with the task to create an opportunity for the audience to understand and engage with this year’s theme over the 22 days of the festival. Therefore, they commissioned the custom-built video booth titled, DIY Shrine. What would you build a shrine to? Where would it be located? Who would you take to visit the shrine? These questions were put to the visitor inside the booth using an iPad display with a custom-built application.
Shrine confessions were captured with a built-in GoPro, then uploaded to Federation Square’s Vimeo Channel and played on the Big Screen. Heartfelt answers were offered without any trepidation. From shrines to family and lost loved ones to homages to guide dogs, Nelson Mandela, football teams and even pet guinea pigs, visitors young and old openly shared what they held dearest in their lives. Melbourne production company, Umbershoot built the DIY Shrine especially to withstand the outdoor, winter conditions at Federation Square while creating a comfortable interior to encourage visitors to share their shrine confessions – information that is far more heartfelt than offered in a standard marketing survey. “Footage was surprisingly unique, diverse, honest and most importantly- directly connected the audience to the theme in an authentic way.” Said Umbershoot director, Brian Cohen. Each year Federation Square’s Marketing Team works to communicate the many different layers of community engagement The Light in Winter inspires.
The DIY Shrine proved to be a valuable tool in communicating that the festival provides visitors more than just an opportunity to look at light displays – that it offers them rich thematic content to lighten the dark days of a Melbourne winter.