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Light installation Piki Mai will return for Nelson Arts Festival

A light installation on the Church Steps that was a surprise hit eight years ago will be back for this year’s Nelson Arts Festival.

Piki-Mai is an audio-visual artwork projected onto the steps and the cathedral tower using digital mapping.

It’s popularity caught festival organisers by surprise in 2011 when thousands turned up, blocking Selwyn St, to see the free installation.

Piki Mai turns the steps into a pulsing wall of colour and movement and tells stories of Nelson’s past.

Piki Mai is a light installation that studies the story of Nelson and turns the Church Steps into a vibrant wall of light.

Festival Director Charlie Unwin said Piki Mai was one of those events that people kept talking about and asking why it could not come back.

“Finally, we’ve managed to align all the different elements for the return of Nelson’s favourite large-scale outdoor projection.

“We’re also really excited to be able to include a few new elements.”

It is the festival’s 25th anniversary this year.

Piki Mai’s creative team – Michael Hodgson, Chris Macmillan and Dan Mace – have added in some new elements to this year’s show. 

Police had to come and help move people off the road during the last showing of Piki Mai in 2011 as it attracted so many people.

This year Light Nelson and Nelson Arts Festival are partnering to present the project. Pic’s Peanut Butter is sponsoring it and Nelson City Council is providing funding.

Light Nelson Trust chair Bronwyn Monopoli said it was delighted to be help bring Piki Mai back to the Church Steps.

“Piki Mai tells our story in a totally unique way, connecting our community, and those who visit Nelson from elsewhere during the Festival, with our history.”

The festival is also working with NMIT, giving the challenge to design students to create their own Piki Mai Remap Project. Their work will be projected on Friday October 25.

That night Pitch Black – aka DJs Michael Hodgson and Paddy Free – will also be playing live on the Church Steps, synching their electronic music with the visuals on the steps.

Large crowds came to watch Piki Mai in 2011 catching organisers by surprise.

Credit: STUFF

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