Lights, cameras, action

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Luma: 'Mountain of Light' at Vivid Sydney PICTURE: BAS VAN EST

A volcanic pyramid animated by 4000 lights is just one of the sculptures designed to make Queenstowners gawp in wonder this weekend.

Artist Angus Muir is the principal light installation artist behind Queenstown’s Luma arts and culture festival, which opens tomorrow.

The Auckland-based creator, who trained as an architect, has a number of eye-popping pieces set up in Queenstown Gardens.

They include ‘Mountain of Light’, which floats on the lake, and ‘Extrude’, a cluster of 10-metre high translucent poles.

Angus Muir Design was involved in both last year’s inaugural Luma and the pilot festival.

“We do festivals all around the world and this is the most beautiful setting,” he says.

“The great thing about the Gardens is there’s no light pollution, so the works are really pure – we’re not competing with street lights, McDonald’s signs, traffic lights, things like that.

“So they look stunning here.”

Some of the works are being shown for the first time in New Zealand, after premiering at Vivid Sydney.

“It’s very rare that we get to create new ones, because they’re so expensive to make.

“And so much goes into them – we design, fabricate and install – there’s a lot of engineering in it, both physically and electronically.”

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which features 28 installations this year.

There are also art and light pieces from Auckland’s AJDC (Alexandra Heaney and Julia Heaney), Queenstown’s Tom Lynch, Mapping Monday, event delivery group SILO, Queenstown schoolchildren and others.

The Luma Art Walk has been moved down to Marine Parade to draw people towards the Gardens. Artists include Rebecca Rose, Toi o Tahuna artist Drew Hill, Ernie Maluschnig and Russell Beck. There are 13 pieces by a dozen artists.

Festival organiser Dan Move says: “It’s been 12 months of work so it’s very exciting to see it all come together in the last week.

“To see Angus’ containers arriving, and all the other artists, and then it all getting to the site.

“This is a free event, for kids of all ages.”

There’ll also be a bar and cinema in the gardens.

The four-day event costs about $80,000 to put on with thousands of volunteer hours in the mix. It’s supported by various sponsors, patrons and grant bodies.

Luma – Southern Light Project, Queenstown Gardens, June 2-5, 6pm-10pm.