The 2006 Next Wave Festival was themed ‘Empire Games’ to coincide with the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, which took place from 15 to 26 March 2006. Running alongside all the sporting events was a free cultural festival called Festival Melbourne 2006, and under the Artistic Directorship of Marcus Westbury, Next Wave delivered the Youth Program for this festival.
The program for the ‘Empire Games’ Festival engaged with Melbourne’s characteristic architecture and urban space. Some of the key projects included 100 Points of Light, which transformed the city’s laneways and shop fronts with installations and projections, and the Containers Village at Melbourne’s Docklands, which presented the work of forty-three Commonwealth artist-groups in shipping containers.
Empire Games also presented innovative regional projects, including the digital art project Bitscape. Artist Pip Shea worked with youth from Morwell, Moe, Wagga Wagga and the Macedon Ranges to create audio-visual works which were displayed as large-scale projections on a 90 metre high cooling tower.