Let me set the scene. Early morning. Patently crisp, fragrant, autumnal Melbourne air. Jostling, shoulder-to-shoulder with my fellow commuters, I emerge, blinking mole-like from the bowels of Flinders Street station, momentarily blinded by the morning glare. Look east, towards the expanse of the Fed Square forecourt, convinced my retina has finally thrown in the towel and detached itself from whatever it is that it’s supposed to be attached to. BUT WAIT! That’s not a piece of optical tissue floating around inside my eyeball. It’s SOMETHING HOVERING OVER FED SQUARE. A very big, round something. Apparently tethered to the buildings around the plaza with giant dog leads.
Now, I’m hazarding a guess here, but could this be the first element in what promises to be a pretty astounding installation by Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer? Solar Equation is set to be launched with much fanfare at 6pm this Friday 4 June as part of Fed Square’s Light in Winter festival. As we look down the barrel of another Antipodean winter, this festival, which runs for a month and is directed by cultural denizen, Robyn Archer, really warms the cockles. It’s free, it’s cozy, and it’s spectacular. The installation has been commissioned specially for the Festival, and given Lozano-Hemmer’s past efforts, whatever it is that’s being erected above the pavement in Fed Square is sure to be worth seeing once it’s completed. In the dark. Because the whole ‘illuminated’ thing loses a bit of its punch when viewed in daylight. Obviously.