Hobart Botanical Gardens
Saturday March 26th
Ten Days on the Island
The real star of Power Plant - the extensive, inspired and eclectic series of light and sound installations set amidst the Hobart Botanic Gardens - is the garden itself. Wandering along the stone paths amidst the ancient trees, flower-beds and ferns, it’s a real treat to be here on such an enchanted, still and star -studded night.
This is a charming collection of objects, projections, ambient- sound and endless combinations of spinning and twirling, electric- flouro-coloured- light piercing the darkness. And its quite a spectacle.
Electrified trees flash staccato red as botanic projections arise and fade on an old stonewall. Tiny spinning lights high in the branches animate the foliage as shadow puppets, to expand like some wild creature revealed momentarily racing across the lawn. Crickets click and foliage groans as fog engulfs geraniums and I wonder if Peter Cundall dressed as Doctor Who might appear from behind that kaleidoscopic garden of spinning electric diode flowers. It is such a feast of the senses - I feel like a small child at a psychedelic fun fair, and this is only the beginning!
Further down the path glass bells hang like giant martini glasses in branches to sing their vibrated notes as lights fade slowly in and out like electric glow worms, and a small child’s delighted giggling at the multiplied projection of live snails crawling in the bowl right in front of us sums up my feelings exactly.
Many of the ideas in this show are not new, having been explored by artists at mainland and overseas festivals in recent years, possibly inspired by access to the technology as much as anything. But that doesn’t matter at all, as the spectacle is such a treat, and the variety of imagery explored here is so expansive that it’s almost too much to take in at once.
If I have any complaint at all, it is the crowds thronging to the lights, but hopefully a second viewing at a less crowded mid-week session will give more time to savour my favourites.