If you’re feeling the pinch and not sure which ticketed Vivid 2023 event to visit, our pick is the underground spectacular, Dark Spectrum.
Located in the unused tunnels underneath Wynyard Station, Dark Spectrum is a highlight of this year’s Vivid festival. The eight-room experience within the abandoned tunnels is filled with mesmerising light shows – each room offering a different colour linked to its own altered soundscape, taking you into a new time and space.
Some sections of the tunnels – which were built in the 1930s as part of Wynyard Station’s unused Platforms 1 and 2 – have never been open to the public. As visitors enter in restricted group numbers to avoid over-crowding, they become engrossed by the secret illuminated passageways and pulses of electronic dance music that ring out of the eight-room space. Each tunnel represents a different human experience and associated colour.
Visitors move through rooms, themed ‘separation’, ‘constriction’, ‘pressure’, ‘the unseen’, ‘reflection’, ‘the unfamiliar’, ‘connection’ and end with a ‘revelation’.
Your Dark Spectrum journey
• Space 1: Represents the theme of ‘Separation’. Pools of intense light morph and contort overhead as the music transforms the space from an industrial tunnel to a borderless room of lasers. In a flash, white light is split into every colour of the spectrum in spectacular fashion, as the journey to delve deep into the Dark Spectrum begins…
• Space 2: Themed ‘Constriction’, the red hue maze permeates the feeling of the walls closing in. The maze of red neon and tangled illuminated cabling sees hundreds of hanging pillars pulse and animate; creating illusions of the space expanding and contracting around as visitors can weave and wonder amongst the 150 LED tubes to explore every corner of this vast underground labyrinth.
• Space 3: ‘Pressure’, the amber fused tunnel explores the pressure we all feel as part of modern life and the relentless driving beat of society that pushes us all along. Inside the expansive, seemingly endless tunnel of light that extends for nearly one hundred metres, visualisations of this driving beat pulse as the music envelops you.
• Space 4: Titled ‘Unseen’, the warm glow from yellow demonstrates the two sides to every person; what we see and what remains unseen. At first glance, this space is adorned with jumping castle-esque inflatables that glow in warm yellows; it’s a fun and literally bubbly space just begging to be explored. As the music builds you might just discover what lies unseen as the entire room takes on a completely different form…
• Space 5: ‘Reflection’ is where we face reality – where so much of who we are is based on personal reflection. In this hazy space, thousands of green laser beams emanate from every crack and crevice in the underground warren. Monolithic mirrors rotate slowly, reflecting and refracting beams off into space in every direction. Visitors are encouraged to pause and reflect – literally – as the giant mirrors pass them by. Stare closely into your reflection for long enough and you’re likely to see something new.
• Space 6: ‘Unfamiliar’ – the blue shade is enveloped by five, two tonne, six-metre-high robots, that are encouraged to set off unsettling feelings of the unfamiliar. When the strangely human-like robots come alive, the tunnel is disturbed, and visitors are encouraged to discover the series of uncannily familiar expressions and movements that spring to life in the stunningly choreographed display which will leave them mesmerised.
• As visitors pass through the second last space titled ‘Interaction’, thousands of magenta hanging vines adorn the ceilings and hang to the floor, where visitors are encouraged to interact with the artwork and others as the series of alien-like illuminated hanging plants respond to interaction and human touch – as you get closer to them, you’ll trigger brief interactions of brilliant colour.
• For the finale, visitors make their way to the end of the final tunnel and out of the world of Dark Spectrum. The ‘Revelation’ comes alive in a full spectrum of colour. We are all the sum of many parts; a combination of experiences and emotions. In this final space, every colour of the spectrum combines, producing wave after wave of rainbows that fill the air around you in the form of hundreds of bright beams of moving light. Having journeyed across the Dark Spectrum, you’re invited to walk towards the light, as you approach the exit of the tunnels, uplifted by all of your experiences and reminded that we all must experience darkness to appreciate the light.
Presented in partnership with Vivid Sydney, Sony Music, Mandylights and Culture Creative, Dark Spectrum will premiere at Vivid Sydney on 26 May, running until 16 July before touring the world.
How much is Dark Spectrum?
Ticket prices vary depending on the date and time of your visit. General admission tickets can be purchased for between $35 to $45 and child tickets (age 6 – 12 years) can be purchased for between $24 to $34. Family tickets (2 adults and 2 children aged 6 – 12 years) can be purchased for between $98 and $150.
Purchase tickets here to Dark Spectrum.