Artist Hiromi Tango (JPN/AUS)
Lighting Design: Amelia Lever-Davidson
Lighting Programmer: Matthew Quinn

Presented by DARK MOFO
Websters Car Park


Unspoken fears grow bigger
Fed by the darkness
The radiant moon
Shining down on my sadness
Dancing with my tears
Brilliant colours
Where the water meets the light
A Moonbow is born

Rainbow Dream will be an immersive installation created for Dark MOFO that invites audiences into a contemplative space where sadness and joy can co-exist. From within the inky darkness of a darkened room, vibrantly coloured circles seem to pop out from the walls, floor and ceiling, glowing intensely under blue light. A human-scale mouse wheel with vivid hues entices viewers to step inside and chase the rainbow. Using colour, light and movement, Rainbow Dream creates space for people to slow down, and refocus their internal lenses in a space where the entire world is seen in rainbow-hued brilliance.

Since the dawn of 2020, we have experienced ongoing trauma from never-ending bad news, uncertainty and isolation. During this time, I have often found solace in slowing down to appreciate the beauty around me. During the first lockdown in 2020 we had a lot of rain in the Northern Rivers Region where we live, and I saw many double rainbows. When the water was still, I often saw a perfect circle reflection of a double rainbow.
The sight moved me to tears. It made me happy. Such gentle light – feelings of happiness during the uncertainty of that first COVID lockdown when were unsure of what may happen – what may be waiting for us. During that stressful time, the joy of nature comforted me.

This inspired me to create a rainbow meditation room where everyone could enjoy the magic of rainbow rings, dancing gently and playfully — a place where children and young people in particular could enjoy and feel relaxed — to be present and to feel calm.

As our lockdowns wore on, I reflected on the need to acknowledge and process the collective grief that the world has been carrying. I was inspired by the poetic notion of the moonbow, a rainbow that refracts the light of the moon in the darkness of night.

During anxious times, I often gaze at the night sky, quietly meditating on how nature is transformed in the darkness. At times, when everything is quiet and still, emotions well up and spill over. After awhile, the tears give way to calm, and the beauty of the night shines through. In this way, the work gently provides space for our collective grief that often remains hidden and unspoken through acknowledging both joy and sadness. In an immersive, darkened space where all light it filled with rainbow colours, Rainbow Dream creates the conditions for viewers/participants to experience a full range of emotions, and to unpack some of the load that so many of us have been carrying for too long.

Underpinning this concept is a longstanding interest in how colour, light and movement can affect our brains – particularly with regard to mood and emotional regulation. The use of bright colours has been inspired by Brainbow neuro-imaging techniques, which have transformed the ability of researchers to visualise the intricate architecture of neural circuitry in the brain. The Brainbow technique uses fluorescent proteins and references the natural phenomenon of bio-fluorescence including examples in nature that I have previously explored as poetic metaphors for brain structures, connections, and cycles of growth and repair including. The science behind fluorescence fascinates me: how vibrant colour evokes an immediate response in people, changes in brain function and perception.

The science of how colour impacts our mental and physical health is brought to life in this exhibition, through the inclusion of a new iteration of Wheel into the Rainbow Dream. Created in collaboration with Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health researcher Dr Emma Burrows, Wheel explores the effect of vibrant colours, playful spaces and exercise on mood, and the influence of positive social reward on our exercise commitment. Initially created for Mental, an exhibition at Science Gallery Melbourne, the this new iteration of Wheel contrasts the vibrancy of rainbow colours against the black.
My hope is that viewers will step inside and begin to move, feeling the shift from darkness to light, and from sadness to joy.

At a time when we have all become exhausted by the daily news of illness and death on a global scale, I wanted to create a work that is uplifting, dreamy, joyous and playful through its use of light, colour and movement, while also honouring the complex emotions of our collective experience.

Created in collaboration with Dr Emma Burrows from The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne.
Science Gallery Melbourne, University of Melbourne.
HOTA Gallery

Gallery Representation