INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Sydney Morning Herald MARCH 20, 2009 - by Matthew Moore
COLOUR AND MOVEMENT TO WARM THE CITY THIS WINTER
Bonfires disappeared when a ban on fireworks turned cracker night into history but a government agency has recognised their primitive appeal and is building a festival around the idea.
As part of a three-week early winter event called Vivid Sydney announced by the Premier, Nathan Rees, yesterday, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority will light about twenty open fires along Campbells Cove at The Rocks for three nights so spectators can stay warm while watching an "interpretation" of the burning of the convict ship Three Bees, which sank in 1814 after its thirty kegs of gunpowder exploded.
Across Farm Cove the Opera House will host another element of Vivid Sydney, a music festival called Luminous curated by Brian Eno, the founding member of Roxy Music who has worked with David Bowie, Talking Heads and U2.
As well as organising the music program on his first visit to Australia, Eno will take part in a light sculpture event called Smart Light Sydney, another element of Vivid Sydney, which organisers estimate will bring in more than ten million dollars.
Michael Cohen, the artistic director of Fire Water, said people loved to stand around a big fire on a cold night and he had worked out a way to cut large logs with a chainsaw so they produced "vertical embers" as they burned, creating a blaze that needed no attention.
As they rubbed their hands watching, the buoyancy tanks on the re-creation of a convict ship would fill and the vessel would slowly emerge from beneath the water and begin to float before appearing to catch fire and sink, as did the Three Bees nearly two hundred years earlier.
Vivid Sydney is organised and funded by the City of Sydney, the NSW Government and Events NSW, and is sponsored by the Herald, with the idea of making it a regular festival that will grow as it becomes better known.