The Dazzling White Nights Arts Festival, Essay Example

The White Night is an art festival, where public and private art galleries, museums and other cultural institutions open their doors to the public at no charge, this event is usually an all-night affair. The center of the city hosting the event is usually transformed into a de facto art gallery, where spaces are availed for art installations, themed social jamborees, performances from the different arts (performance art, film, music and dance) and many social activities. The event is usually held during the season of the midnight sun, during the summer solstice when the nights are shorter in high latitude areas. The event is an international event and it takes place in various places across the world. (White Night Melbourne, 2013)

Origins of the Festival

The White Nights Arts Festival is not an original idea as the concept for the event originated from Jean Blaise, the founder of The Research Center for Cultural Development, in Nantes, France (Cuthberston, 2013). Jean Blaise came up with this concept in 1984. Back then, it was known as Night of the Arts, and the very first was held in the Helsinki Festival in 1989. Over the years to follow, the event was held in different cities, namely;

  • Barcelona, 15-20th October, 1990
  • Petersburg, 14-19th October, 1991
  • Buenos Aires, 19-24th October, 1992
  • Naples, 18-23rd October, 1993
  • Cairo, 17-22nd October, 1994
  • Havana, 16-21st October 1995

In 1993, St. Petersburg started incorporating a cultural facet into the event, which included the Scarlet Sails Celebration and street carnivals. This is when the White Night Festivals became synonymous with the city of St. Petersburg. Melbourne was hosting this event for the first time.

Distinctiveness of the Festival

Compared to similar cultural events held at around the same time, Melbourne’s White Night Art Festival offers a completely different and unique proposition all together. The one week long event avails the opportunity for tourists to get a complete Melbourne experience. The federation Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Acmi and the Forum Theatre all form a formidable spectacle compared to the other events held at around the same time. The flinders station was transformed into a proscenium arched stage for a breathtaking concert that featured the deluxe of Victoria’s finest musicians and bands. This is a spectacular music event with the streetlights switched off and the sun creating a breathtaking background, double rainbows unfold at precisely 15 minutes to midnight, and the sky is bathed in ivory light, with the best music playing on stage (Cuthberston, 2013). It makes for an exceptional music experience. From the amazing art collections, breathtaking spectacle of musical genius, the amazing scenery and the delegation of tourists from all over the world.

The Festival’s Success

The event has generated a great deal of buzz in Melbourne. Especially during the summer solstice, when nights are shorter, the event pumps life into the city. The event has converted the city of Melbourne into a hub of a cross-cultural mix during the event (Gurewitsch, 1998). The event has created a platform for amazing works of art to be showcased. The concoction of different musical styles that have been incorporated into the event, coupled with the different form of arts have guaranteed the success of the event for years running. (Gurewitsch, 1998). Most people never thought of Melbourne as the ultimate hub for music, this event surpassed the expectations of many as it hosted it for the first time.

The European Culture

The European culture is an agglomeration of several cultures spreading throughout Europe. The European culture founded on five pillars (1) art, (2) architecture, (3) music, (4) literature, and (5) philosophy. The European culture has always been an expressive culture, one that employs different channels to get ideas, messages and emotions from one individual to another.

The White Nights festivals epitomize the European culture owing to the culmination of different forms of art, reminiscent of the modern cultures within Europe. The White Nights event is all about showcasing the best art from around Europe. One of the most significant indicators of the modern European culture is the giant outdoor digital art gallery. One of the most interesting aspects about the European culture is the ability to quickly adopt technology. Digital art predominantly originated from Europe.

One of the unique selling pints of the event is the fact that it showcases all the unique landmarks of its host city. Some of the common landmarks in most cities are the parks, public libraries and city squares. Showcasing architecture in modern cities depicts the changes within the host culture over time. Most cities have a blend of structures that transcend several generations. These structures therefore depict the cultural changes that occurred as depicted in architectural techniques employed in construction.

However, small events occur in a number of small locations throughout the host city. This gives all tourists and attendees a taste of the European culture as set within the context of the host culture. The White Nights festival depicts the expressive nature of the European culture through its live performance events. Some of the most significant include the opera. The symphonic ensemble described in the article gives a vivid description of the time and setting that the artist created with the music. Most of the music in the festival is classical, folk, and popular music such as pop, soul, jazz, blues and dance.

Food and shelter are themes that resonate with numerous works of art in the festival. Many works of art in the form of architecture are a depiction of the cultural influence of the society within which the structure was designed. Furthermore, many art artefacts that depict the theme of food are also influenced by the given culture, community and even geographic location where the artefact was made.

In conclusion, the White Nights event is a unique event that brings together different aspects of the European culture. By virtue of the event being held in numerous locations throughout Europe and Australia, it brings together the different aspects of these cultures. The event highlights most of the fundamental pillars of the European culture. Art is depicted in many forms with numerous public museums. Art displays also considerably integrate technology in the form of digital art gallery displays. The event highlights architectures of the host city while revealing the hidden cultural “jewels” within the city. The White Nights event is the epitome of the European culture.

References

Bondebjerg, I., & Golding, P. (2004). European culture and the media. Bristol: Intellect Books.

Bondebjerg, I., & Madsen, P. (2009). Media, democracy, and European culture. Bristol: Intellect Books.

Butler, E. (2915, February 24). Melbourne’s White Night festival is Summernats for the middle classes. Retrieved July 3, 2015, from TheGuradian.com: Melbourne’s White Night festival is Summernats for the middle classes

Cuthberston, D. (2013, February 25). White Night an Arty Delight. Retrieved July 3, 2015, from The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/white-night-an-arty-delight-20130224-2ezot.html

De Zepetnek, S. T. (2002). Comparative Central European culture. West Lafeyette: Purdue University Press.

Giorgi, L., Sassatelli, M., & Delanty, G. (2013). European culture and the media. Bristol: Intellect.

Gurewitsch, M. (1998, April). Dazzling White Nights. Retrieved July 3, 2015, from The Atlantic Monthly: http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/98apr/witenite.htm

Mocatta, G. (2015, April 9). White Nights and warm days: summer in St Petersburg. Retrieved July 3, 2015, from LonelyPlanet.com: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/russia/st-petersburg/travel-tips-and-articles/77038

Tickets of Russia. (2012). The Stars of the White Nights Festival. Retrieved July 3, 2015, from Tickets of Russia: http://www.ticketsofrussia.com/white-nights/history.html

White Night Melbourne. (2013, February 23). History of the White Night. Retrieved from White Night Melbourne: http://whitenightmelbourne.com.au/about/overview

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