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White Night Melbourne - The Night Garden

  • State Library of Victoria 328 Swanston Street Melbourne, VIC, 3000 Australia (map)

Discover The Night Garden – an enchanted garden that only grows at night, when dreamers dream, and when imagination transcends the walls of reason.

For White Night Melbourne 2017,  The Night Garden will transform the forecourt of the State Library of Victoria, with projections by Nick Azidis and Rose Staff, story and sound design by Lisa Greenaway.

The Night Garden grows out of a powerful dream vision inspired by the influential medieval poem Roman de la Rose (The Romance of the Rose), by Guillaume de Lorris. Written by de Lorris around 1230, Roman de la Rose's purpose is 'to both entertain and teach others about the Art of Love'. It's a curious, rich poem open to many interpretations. I have adapted the essence of Lorris' original story for this audiovisual installation work for White Night. 

Discarding the more moralistic (and enormous) coda to the poem by Jean de Meun, which to be honest I couldn't wade all the way through, I was entranced by Lorris' story of the dreamer entering a walled garden and discovering the Fountain of Narcissus, in which he sees a beautiful rose, and while looking at it, is struck by numerous arrows by the God of Love causing him to fall in love with the rose. There is so much in this poem, so many layers of meaning, that in sensibility at least I've woven into this soundscape. The voice of the dreamer in the work is Thomas Keily.

Germinating from the seed-inspirations of the gilt patterning on illuminated manuscripts, this spellbinding garden's evolving vistas, glens, fountains, labyrinths, vines and arches will transform the walls of the State Library, creating a unique atmosphere of enchantment and romance.

Watching the garden grow up over the Library's facade – immersed in an enveloping soundscape of wind and water, birdsong and music – audiences will be transported from the streets of Melbourne for an extended moment to dream freely.

For more:

Later Event: 6 March
La Danza Poetica