White Night – a guide to getting started

Twelve hours go really fast when there’s a city full of eye-popping art to experience. Here are our tips for catching the best of White Night Melbourne with your family or crew from 7pm on Saturday 17 February.

Top five events for friends

Liquid Sky

Created especially for Federation Square, LA artist Patrick Shearn’s Liquid Sky is going to be a major White Night highlight. A floating holographic net on a massive scale – we’re talking 150 square metres – his latest kinetic sculpture will undulate with the wind. Wonder under this shimmying, shimmering silver ceiling, inspired by the harmonious way flocks of birds and shoals of fish move en masse.

An aerial view of a silver cloud hovering above a crowd of people in a city square

Liquid Sky at Federation Square


Step into Metamorphosis, a garden full of giant, glowing, musical cocoons that respond to your touch. This interactive installation is an ever-changing soundscape of insect noises and sci-fi sounds, and a wondrous spectacle of colour and light. Make a beeline for the Carlton Gardens and be inspired by the world of insects.

A person touching an illuminated sculpture at night, surrounded by many other illuminated sculptures and a crowd of people.



Once again, amazing animated projections will be a highlight of White Night this year. The State Library of Victoria’s grand facade is the canvas for images of magic, incredible creatures and beautiful botany that #CreateArtHistory. Inside, in the equally grand La Trobe Reading Room, more projections reveal The Secret Life of Books. The Secret Life of Buildings is also revealed along Flinders Street’s east end. The UNESCO World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building comes alive with 3D video-mapped projections that ask: What if …?

The inside of a library with light projections on the walls

The Secret Life of Books

The Serpent Mother

There’s more interactive art inspired by nature nearby at the Melbourne Museum Plaza. The Serpent Mother moves and erupts with fire in response to those brave enough to become more than mere viewers of art. This 50-metre-long kinetic metal sculpture is fresh from Burning Man, and includes a very surprising Easter egg!

Fashion City

For one night only, a 50-metre catwalk dominates the Bourke Street Mall for Fashion City. This high-energy haute couture show is as much about theatre as fashion. It features 60 models and dancers, a DJ, vocalist Miss Sarah C and So You Think You Can Dance judge Jason Coleman. Derek Zoolander would be proud!

Top five family events

Cats vs the World Video Party

Good news, feline fanciers. A hit at White Night 2016, ACMI’s Internet Cat Festival is back for round two. Cats vs the World Video Party is a big-screen face-off between kitties and other cute critters, from puppies to pandas. If cat videos on your phone make you giggle, imagine how funny they are in a cinema – LOL!

Cats vs The World Video party. Image: Creative Commons


Melbourne artist Christopher Langton has delved into fairytales for Phantasmagoria, a colourful installation that may not be what it seems. Are his giant inflated toys and animals trying to help a friend escape a fortress? Or are they guards who may get grumpy if anyone tries to leave? Either way, this is going to be an adventure!

A collection of giant animal toys on a lawn in front of an old building and some trees


Neon Dog Park

There’s no doubt about the creatures fellow Melbourne artist Carla O’Brien has created for her glowing Neon Dog Park. They are all cute, playful and utterly Instagrammable! Made from LED Neon Flex over wire mesh and metal frames, these doggies come in all shapes and sizes – and never poop!

A woman and a child holding a leash of a neon dog sculpture, with another child patting it

Neon Dog Park

Snow Lane

It never snows in Melbourne, and certainly not in summer – but anything’s possible on White Night! One block of Little Bourke Street will be transformed into Snow Lane with special lighting effects, snow machines and snow-crystal performers. Wander into a winter wonderland and let your imagination fly.

A crowd of people walking along a narrow laneway between several buildings that is covered in snow

Snow Lane

La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo

Created by an international team of artists known as Namaste, La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo is out of this world. Meaning ‘the earth at the centre of the universe’, this installation is a large-scale representation of our solar system. Take a stroll among the planets, which have been conjured using NASA images and sounds and music from around the world.

A series of illuminated globes that look like planets in a park at night

La Terra Al Centro Dell’ Universo

White Night bites

After a few hours of oohing and ahhing, your posse is going to get peckish. Check out our guide to late-night dining for inspiration.

chopsticks holding noodles over a bowl of noodle soup

Twenty Pho Seven