Enlighten and the Night Noodle Markets pull in hungry crowds

Emma Kelly

 Hordes of hungry Canberrans were queuing for a serve of noodles or dumplings well before Friday's launch of the capital's first Enlighten Night Noodle Markets sizzled into action.

The markets, which will run for two weeks alongside the Enlighten festival, feature half a dozen different types of noodles, plus gyoza, yum cha dumplings and a range of desserts.

Revellers traversed stalls, many from interstate, and filled up on teppanyaki, soup, salad, curry and barbecued meat under a canopy of colourful lanterns and the watchful eye of six-metre lucky cat.

It's all to a backdrop of illuminated buildings once dark sets in and a blanket of 300 origami-style paper boats floating on Lake Burley Griffin.

Enlighten creative producer Nicole Warren said the floating artwork tied into a broader journey theme, with water weaving through other parts of the festival over the next few days including this weekend's performances of Trade Winds, a set of illuminated performers dancing on a pop-up pond, and roving trio the Sharks. 

"It's looking great, it's the first time this work has been in Australia," she said. 

Ms Warren said award-winning three-part performance Bane was set to be another highlight within a program that is "very different" from previous years.

"Bane is a great one for people who like comedy or incredibly engaging story-telling – a hit man becomes the target," she said.

"Other activities and certainly the music stage have very unique programs over the two different weekends. We've tried to create an atmosphere where people do want to come back."

One new feature is a collaboration between the National Library of Australia and ANU students to produce a number of treatments based on the library's collections.

"ANU students are doing some guerilla-style projections – they're taking a wall and experimenting with animation and movement," Ms Warren said. "It will be a bit of an unusual jam I think."

Colourful projections will illuminate several of the city's most iconic institutions around the parliamentary triangle over the festival's entirety. 

Electric Canvas has returned for a fifth year of co-ordinating the projections, which managing director Peter Milne hoped would wow wanderers. 

"For us, the centrepiece everything revolves around is the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House," he said.

"All five or six treatments are based on activities or collections in MOAD [including] Behind the Lines, the past year's best political cartoons so, a number of very colourful treatments on that.

"Questacon has asked Electric Canvas to provide a number of animated projections of a fun scientific nature, especially around the year of light."

About six projections will illuminate Parliament House, drawing on materials from inside the building including the Great Hall's large tapestry, while the National Gallery of Australia has a James Turrell A Retrospective edge. 

The National Portrait Gallery has again tasked the Academy of Interactive Entertainment with short animated projections.