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Anticipation grows as Light Nelson looms

Tianma the Heavenly Horse by Bridgette Murphy of the Rangi Enviro Arts Centre in Northern Manawatu, photo Peter Jennings.

Anticipation grows as Light Nelson looms

Artists are working on the last details of their light installations, electricians have been roped in to problem-solve, arborists are working out how they’ll place lighting to illuminate trees and the organisers already have their eyes on the long range weather forecast.

Light Nelson is set to brighten up the midwinter, with the children’s participation event ‘Float a Wish’ only days away on Thursday (July 3). Then a week later the switches are flicked on for Light Nelson, which runs from July 11 - 13.

Light Nelson Trust chair Brian Riley says it’s very different from last year when there was some anxiety over whether people would come.

“We weren’t sure how many we’d get for our first event but certainly didn't’ expect the 16-thousand that turned out,” he says. “So this year it’s not about ‘will they come?’ It's more about managing the crowd…people who loved it last year will be back and those who missed it will come along to see what all the talk is about.”

“Light Nelson is a collaboration of art, science and technology, with 50 artists letting their creativity loose on 40 installations that cover a range of innovative media, including laser technology, digital imagery, performance, fire, music and poetry.

Brian says there are several projects he’s very excited about.

I’m really interested in Fleur Stewart‘s quirky illuminated sheep and I think there will be a lot of people wanting to have a go at Jacob Barrow’s giant virtual reality game where the public can watch the players’ action on screen,” he says. “And of course there’s a lot of excitement about Ben Clegg’s laser recreation of the Riwaka Resurgence – Ben did the Rainbow Bridge last year so we know what he’s capable of.”

With the big crowd that is expected Brian has a special message for parents:

“Really it’s just to take responsibility for children and to exercise common sense – it will be dark, there is a pond, some installations are delicate and some involve fire,” he says. “We are asking parents to talk to their kids about safety before they come to Light Nelson and keep on eye on them when they’re there.”

Float a Wish, July 3; Light Nelson, July 11-13, nightly at 5.30-9.30pm, Queens Gardens and surrounds, Hardy and Bridge Streets, plus Albion Square and NMIT Arts and Media building and campus. Neon synth band performs at the Cathedral 5.30pm nightly. Entry: free.

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