A virtual flood will transform Fremantle’s Esplanade Park over the next three evenings with the Australian premiere of an internationally acclaimed large-scale light installation at the Fremantle Biennale.
WATERLICHT uses cascading waves of blue lasers and smoke to create the sensation of being underwater, and seeks to call attention to rising sea levels.
The Minderoo Foundation has supported the installation’s Southern Hemisphere debut, which headlines the UNDERCURRENT 19 Biennale program.
WATERLICHT was created by Dutch social design lab Studio Roosegaarde in 2015 to show how, without the intervention of design and engineering, a large portion of the Netherlands would be underwater. It has since travelled the world, sparking discussions about sustainability in each place it visits.
Minderoo Foundation founder Nicola Forrest said supporting WATERLICHT helped the Foundation achieve a number of its aims, including challenging community thinking.
“Through collaborative partnerships like this we help artistic and cultural vibrancy to shine in Western Australia, and be accessible to everyone,” Mrs Forrest said.
“We hope that people who experience WATERLICHT will also pause to think about the future of our planet.”
Visitors should bring their smartphone and headphones to hear a new soundscape developed for WATERLICHT’s presentation at the Biennale.
Daan Roosegaarde, the Studio’s lead designer and artist, collaborated with Whadjuk Nyoongar elder and artist Barry McGuire and historian Michelle McKeough to develop stories about Fremantle’s waterfront by traditional custodians, civic figures, historians, artists and community members.
Roosegaarde has described WATERLICHT as a “place of wonder”, which can prompt visitors to return over a number of evenings. He believes works like WATERLICHT can activate shifts in thinking and encourage imagination, and hopes it will help communities to “imagine together what we want our world to look like.”
Minderoo is a major partner of the Biennale, which runs for three weeks, from November 1 to 24.
The Biennale will present work from more than 40 international and Australian artists, architects and designers including large-scale artworks, installations, architectural pavilions, dance and music performances and group exhibitions presented in hidden and public sites across Fremantle.
WATERLICHT runs continuously from 7pm to 11pm on Friday 1 and Sunday 3 November and until midnight on Saturday 2 November in Esplanade Park, Fremantle. Visitors can arrive at any time during the evening and experience the event at their own pace.