Art to transport public to another reality

News News & events

06 Aug 2018

Within the winter wonderland that is House of Travel Botanic D’Lights, the trees will talk, the Arts Centre clock face will come alive and you may even catch a glimpse of a fairy…

Last year it drew in some 70,000 people, and this year House of Travel Botanic D’Lights is anticipated to be bigger and better than before, drawing in huge crowds to explore the installations, which fit the theme of ‘Escape your reality’.

From Wednesday 8 to Sunday 12 August, between 6-9pm each night, the Botanic Gardens and the Arts Centre of Christchurch will light up with over forty different installations, light features and multimedia works, 11 contributed by Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Ara was first involved as a creative partner in the Christchurch City Council event in 2016, when Creative Industries staff, students and graduates from Ara developed projects to impress children and adults alike.

Bruce Russell, Ara Manager of Art and Design, says that House of Travel Botanic D’Lights is a great platform for the Institute’s creative talent. “It’s a really fruitful collaboration because it marries Ara’s technical capabilities with the Council’s event management.”

Students from Art and Design and Music Arts have been working alongside their course tutors, who are working artists in their own right, gaining invaluable professional experience and exposure.

“Students will be able to take away strong photographic proof of their work from a live performance setting,” says Russell. “It’s a gift to us, it really is.”

Russell says for many students this is their first “real-world project” and that they often don’t realise the magnitude of their involvement until they see it all brought together.

“Last time Ara was involved in this event quite a few of the students had a moment when they realised ‘oh, this is a really big show and I’m a really big part of it!’ They were literally taken by surprise.”

Tim Budgen, Ara motion design tutor is working with his students across four different projects that are a mix of animation, sound, light and motion design work.

One of these projects is They’re going to laugh at you, a thoughtful animation project which will bring to life a drawing of the Arts Centre clock tower created by local artist Jacob Yikes.

“Jacob is known for his street art and large mural works around Christchurch. He has created a piece of artwork specifically for the event that we have since deconstructed and animated. So in this case the students aren’t starting from scratch, they’re given something to work with, and in terms of building their confidence that’s really good,” says Budgen.

Budgen can’t wait to see people’s reactions to his project Talking Trees, which was popular at the 2016 event.

“The students have been coming up with funny discussions for the Garden’s trees to have together. It might be that they tell jokes, or do parodies or satire of famous figures… and the faces themselves are quite abstract. Hopefully a few of my really bad dad jokes will make the cut!”

Russell says that other projects to look out for include River of Words, created by photography tutor John Maillard, and Oberon’s Dream, “a whimsical fairy grotto scenario with tons of luminous mushrooms” created by tutors John Osbourne, Deborah Marshall and Carol King.

Students Claudia Van Dam, Meg Catherall-Brown, Kenna Taylor and Rebecca Unwin creating mushrooms for Oberon's Dream.

“John was one of the standout creators from the 2016 event. River of Words is a projection of words from the people of Christchurch that will reflect the city’s spirit, and will involve significant interactivity with the public. It’s also going to become a legacy project which is very exciting as it means after House of Travel Botanic D’Lights it will be installed somewhere in the CBD for people to enjoy. Understandably John is pretty amped about that!”

House of Travel Botanic D’Lights has been organised so families and groups can make a night of it, with food trucks set to line Rolleston Ave and free glow-in-the-dark face paint for the kids, or kids-at-heart.

Rug up warm, bring a torch and enjoy the spectacle of illuminated artworks!

Ara led projects:

  • Polar- Tim Budgen (Ara Art and Design tutor), music by Nomad
  • Doorways to Another World- Tim Budgen and Year 3 Bachelor of Design students
  • Talking Trees- Tim Budgen and Year 3 Bachelor of Design students
  • They’re going to laugh at you – Animation by Tim Budgen and Year 3 Bachelor of Design students, artwork by local street artist Jacob Yikes.
  • Fairies in the Park - John Maillard (Ara Art and Design tutor) – across three sites
  • River of Words - John Maillard
  • Oberon’s Dream - John Osbourne, Deborah Marshall and Carol King (Ara Art and Design tutors) and Year 3 Bachelor of Design students
  • We Never Knew Your Name - Dr Dorothee Pauli, Wendy Clarke (Ara Art and Design tutors), and Harry Harrison (Ara Music Arts tutor) and Year 3 Bachelor of Design students
  • Animaudio Lumière- David Cooper (Ara Music Arts tutor) and Year 3 Bachelor of Music Arts students