Technology and art don’t typically run with the same crowds. One sparks practicality and technology-based ideas; the other, creativity and imagination. So what happens when the two come together? The Wellington LUX Festival, an annual event that turns New Zealand’s capital into one of the world’s lightest and brightest cities merges light, art, technology and design. “LUX is a distinctively Wellington event as it’s unique, fun and just a little bit off-beat,” said LUX founder Chris Bennewith. Thirty light sculptures and interactive art installations illuminate businesses, cultural centers and streets along the Wellington waterfront — from the TSB Arena to the downtown Lagoon area, throughout the Opera House and Eva Street laneways, and everywhere in between. Those on display were chosenfrom 60 applicants from around the world, including students from Massey University in New Zealand and Victoria University in Australia. (left) Boing Boing Gloop Machine.(middle)Square Things. (right) Potion Forest. Each display is different, yet all invite interaction via pop-up installations, hands-on exhibits and artist talks. The festival this year presents an urban crystal forest, which features 50 large, colorful crystals glowing within trees around the area. Another exhibit called Aura is a light and sound display that responds to people’s presence and movements. “Each year we’ve seen the festival shine brighter, as more and more artists apply to have their spectacular, unusual and fun installations on display in Wellington,” Bennewith said. “We have also seen more and more visitors attend.” Artists are part of the interaction, talking with visitors about their pieces and how they used light to create them. “This year’s program … offers a mix of family-friendly, spectacular and avant-garde pieces from some of the world’s best artists,” Bennewith said. “This year we’re thrilled to be included in UNESCO’s International Year of Light, which highlights the importance of light globally.” The festival last year featured many unique and intriguing works, including the Boing Boing Gloop Machine, which combines light and sound within a large drum covered by Lycra fabric. Kinect cameras inside the drum read the height of the Lycra as it is pulled by a rope on top. As the height of the Lycra changes, so do the sounds and visuals. Others on display in 2014 were Screaming Rapture, Light Rails and the Potion Forest.