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Illuminate Adelaide to Feature The Avalanches, Square Circles & Thin Ice VR, and City Lights

As the inaugural edition of Illuminate Adelaide approaches, we take a look at some of this year’s program highlights.

Highlights of the Illuminate Adelaide program

Airship Orchestra by ENESS; Grant Spanier*; Miles Rowland*

With just mere days to go until the inaugural edition of Adelaide’s celebration of innovation, music, art, light and technology Illuminate Adelaide kicks off, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the biggest drawcards heading to the City of Churches.

First announced in early April, Illuminate Adelaide was unveiled as a two-week festival which will see more than 150 installations, performances, and events heading to the South Australian capital, including a brand new iteration of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas.

Described as a celebration of “the union between future technology and creative industries”, co-founders and creative directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge explained that Illuminate Adelaide would also see the city’s vibrant nature highlighted thanks to light experiences, art installations, and a veritable showcase of technology, performance, and music.

“We’ve sought opportunities to embrace ambitious ideas and emerging technology, to explore new and diverse voices, and to celebrate spectacular Australian and international works,” the organisers explained at the time.

“Audiences and families from across the country are invited to explore this wonderful city’s architecture, streets, laneways, gardens and zoo, as we transform them all with new immersive stories, adventures and experiences.”

With Illuminate Adelaide officially launching on July 16th, we’ve taken a look at some of the most unique and immersive experiences set to feature this year, including those that you simply cannot miss out on.

The Avalanches: Since I Left You, Live

In addition to serving as the inaugural Luminary Artists in Residence, iconic Melbourne outfit The Avalanches are set to use this year’s edition of Illuminate Adelaide as an opportunity to give fans a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Having celebrated 20 years since the release of their debut album, Since I Left You, last year, the group unveiled their long-awaited deluxe edition of the record just last month. Often called one of the most unique and greatest records of all-time, the sample-laden album has been instrumental in launching musical tastes and careers the world over.

On July 30th, The Avalanches will descend upon the Adelaide Entertainment Centre to perform Since I Left You in full, complete with help from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Easily one of the most anticipated live events of 2021, this performance is on track to be an iconic experience for anyone, whether they be veteran fans, or newcomers to the group. Whatever your history, let yourself become one with others thanks to the majesty of Since I Left You on the live stage.

City Lights

In the cold winter months, it makes sense to stay inside and get warm while the city shivers around you. However, with the introduction of City Lights, the cold becomes as inviting as ever as Illuminate Adelaide lives up to its name and dazzles the senses with its fascinating light shows.

Taking place across 17 nights, the free light trail brings together local, national and international artists and innovators to present cutting edge works on a scale Adelaide has never seen before. With 40 free works, City Lights looks to transform three separate precincts across Adelaide’s CBD – East, West and North – into nocturnal playgrounds thanks to worth from acclaimed artists and studios from around the world.

Site-specific works will feature kaleidoscopic projections, immersive inflatable installations, augmented reality, and interactive exhibits at the intersection of fine art and cutting-edge technology, all for the low cost of nothing from 6pm to 11pm each night.


Taking its name from the Pintupi word for ‘moon’, KINARA sees Illuminate Adelaide teaming up with TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute and Music SA to present a specially curated evening of music, culture, Kin and Country led by a line-up of ground-breaking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists during the night of July’s full moon.

Held at the TANDANYA National Aboriginal Cultural Institute on Grenfell Street on July 24th, the KINARA event sees talented musicians such as DEM MOB, The Yorke Band, MoZzi, and more, in addition to an immersive sound, light and imaginative experience created by Pintupi artists. In a word, KINARA is the true definition of an unmissable event.

Thin Ice VR and Square Circles VR

With Illuminate Adelaide already serving up unique experiences at every turn, it only makes sense that they push the boundaries of reality thanks to the world premiere of both Square Circles VR. With both works using different types of immersive virtual reality, it invites patrons to experience VR at its most innovative and thrilling.

While Square Circles VR showcases an immersive virtual reality work by William Barton, cultural leader and internationally acclaimed didgeridoo player, together with friend and violist Stephen King and the Australian String Quartet, it utilises emergent digital storytelling to create breathtaking visual landscapes, set to a score performed and recorded by Barton and the ASQ on Peramangk Country at Ukaria Cultural Centre.

Thin Ice VR sees environmental scientist Tim Jarvis AM recreating the tragic feat of endurance undertaken by Sir Ernest Shackleton 107 years ago. Using groundbreaking new technology, 360 photogrammetry in a specially designed dome inside, we join Jarvis in following Shackleton’s footsteps as he attempts to cross Antarctica coast-to-coast. While originally planned for Illuminate, Thin Ice VR will now be premiering at the South Australian Museum from 20 November until February 2022.


If ever there was an event designed to close out a multi-day celebration, then MAAD would be the blueprint. Saving the best and biggest for last, MAAD (that is, Music & Art After Dark) serves as a multi-venue celebration of art, music and ideas, with various venues, galleries, and laneways across the northwest corner of the CBD being taken over for a tantalising feast for the senses.

Featuring events with Lion Arts Factory, Jive, JamFactory, SASA Gallery, and much more, MAAD will help close out proceedings with appearances from the likes of Melbourne DJ and fashion designer Soju Gang, and South Sudanese-born, now Adelaide local, hip hop artist DyspOra. Finally, things culminate with a can’t-miss DJ set from none other than Luminary Artists in Residence, The Avalanches, who also appear in an intimate conversation with Double J’s Zan Rowe and regular collaborator Jonathan Zawada earlier that day.

Illuminate Adelaide

Friday, July 16th – Sunday, August 1st
Various Locations, Adelaide, SA
Information and Tickets: Illuminate Adelaide

Thin Ice VR

November 20th – February 2022
The South Australian museum, Adelaide, SA
Information: Torrens University Australia