Sydney’s Abandoned Underground Tunnels Are Being Unsealed For a Wild Immersive Art Show

An image of the Dark Spectrum light show in the tunnels under sydney for VIVID 2023

For the first time in history, the tunnels under Sydney’s CBD will be opened to the public for what is set to be a spectacular psychedelic display. As part of the VIVID 2023 offerings, one company has been painstakingly toiling away for the past three years to bring Sydneysiders this world-first visual treat.

Dark Spectrum is a collaboration between VIVID Sydney, Sony Music, Mandylights, and Culture Creative, all brought together under the creative mind of Richard Neville.

During the six-week run, visitors can step walk through this underground exploration of what lies beneath the streets of Wynyard, billed as an “immersive journey of light and sound” that will “unravel the spectrum of human experience”.

An image of the Dark Spectrum light show in the tunnels under sydney for VIVID 2023
Image: ‘Dark Spectrum’ / Supplied

The show employs light, music, lasers, robotics and state-of-the-art technologies to turn nearly a kilometre of disused subterranean tunnels into the most overwhelming of raves.

Neville, managing director of the award-winning design firm Mandylights, has been behind some of Sydney’s biggest light displays in recent years. These include last year’s Convergence on the Goods Line, Winter Cathedral in the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a  stunning illumination of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and City for Our Connected City.

“To realise the project inside the historic Wynyard tunnels is incredibly exciting as we get to show off a new venue, new technology and a new Australian-made, truly immersive experience that will envelop and overwhelm,” Neville said in a press release.

He has also described the show as having the “intensity of a music festival.” Having worked with bands like PNAU, Thundercat, and ABBA, he should know.

Dark Spectrum takes place across eight underground spaces with each ticket offering an hour of exploration down secret passageways erupting in light and music. Each of the spaces is different, focusing on a separate theme of the human experience.

An image of the Dark Spectrum light show in the tunnels under sydney for VIVID 2023
Image: ‘Dark Spectrum’ / Supplied

Take, for example, ‘Constriction’, a red maze dangling 150 pulsating LED tubes from the ceiling to give the feeling of the walls closing in. ‘Unseen’ looks initially like a warm space filled with jumping-castle-style inflatables that slowly and menacingly transform as the music builds. ‘Unfamiliar’ packs a choreographed chorus of six-foot robots moving to the music. Needless to say, it’s not a show for the fainthearted. Or, by the sounds of it, the sober.

The space that Dark Spectrum operates in are tunnels built in the 1930s as part of Wynyard Station. However, they were never used and were subsequently sealed off to the public — until now.

Dark Spectrum will premiere at Vivid Sydney on 26 May and will run until 16 July before setting off on a global tour. The event is ticketed and will be open daily from 12pm to 9:15pm. Definitely, one to add to your VIVID 2023 list.

Related: 10 Unmissable VIVID Ideas Exchange Talks That’ll Fuel Your Dinner Party Chat for Months

Related: 5 Spots to See Vivid Views Without the Crowds (or Having to Pay for a $$ Dinner or Drink)

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