“I was kind of scared,” admits animation student Erika Ju. “You know, it’s Central Park, everyone’s going to see it.”
Ju is one of 60 second-year animation students who created a light display for the main building at Central Park, Chippendale as part of this year’s Vivid Sydney festival.
The students, divided into groups, worked with projection design firm Ample Projects to produce a 12-minute animation titled Chronos and Kairos.
“The project was underpinned by the students researching the human relationship to time,” explains Design Lecturer Deborah Szapiro.
“Each group produced 40 seconds of animation. They also worked with the Australia Piano Quartet – UTS’s quartet-in-residence – and one of Australia's leading young composers, Lachlan Skipworth, as part of the experience.”
“I love how from the very beginning, UTS animation, especially with projects like Vivid, puts your work out there for people to see,” enthuses Ju.
“Practical work helps us learn the most. With this project we went through the whole pipeline of production, and yeah, we go through a lot of mistakes, but you do that first-hand instead of doing case studies of other people; you come up with new mistakes, instead of just learning from theirs.”
Lecturer Mike Day, who teaches interior lighting at UTS, says working on Vivid and similar projects “gives students a bit more of a sense of empowerment”.
“You just learn so much by making and testing and doing. Now it has that additional layer of putting it out in public. You get the public feedback and you look at your own work in a very different way. And that’s what happens in real life.”
Second Self by Master of Animation student Ralph Stevenson was one of a number of animations displayed at Central Park during Vivid.
As part of Vivid, Day’s students had their work displayed at Newtown Social Club and along Dixon Street in Haymarket.
Natalie Wadick, a third-year interior and spatial design student, says there’s nothing quite like designing for a public space.
“I printed black ink onto acetate – album covers and tour posters of local artists that are actually playing at Newtown Social Club.
“There’s an interior window within Newtown Social Club so I taped them all up on the glass, and backed them with coloured cellophane. Then, in the daylight they sort of shimmer and at night we’ve got spotlights on them so they project a glow, an ambient light in the space.”
Day says he is often surprised by his students. “Many of the students depart from the brief, a lot, but I think they learn more by doing that. They always surprise me with a completely different take from the one I was expecting. Usually the best students surprise me by doing something really inventive.”
Szapiro agrees. “What absolutely amazes me is that they always step up to the plate. I am so proud of them and they are so proud of themselves.
“The students work incredibly hard,” Szapiro adds. “They learn a lot about the technical side of things, so if they go out and apply for an architectural projection job when they leave UTS, they’re already streets ahead of anybody else.”