This winter, Quays Culture will host a free interactive light festival, at Salford Quays: Home of MediaCityUK. The annual festival, Lightwaves 2018 will showcase inspiring digital light art; illuminating the public spaces for an unforgettable 10 days, from Friday 7 December until Sunday 16 December 2018. #Lightwaves2018.
Featuring new and exclusively commissioned digital art displays alongside emerging talent and light workshops, from local, national, and international artists. Lightwaves 2018 will bring light to those dark winter nights, as 16 FREE light experiences span across Salford Quays and MediaCityUK.
The first of two major commissions for Lightwaves 2018 is Youth Culture from internationally recognised, and renowned London-based artist, Stanza. A towering beautiful hooded sculpture; Youth Culture visualises visitor data it receives using mini screens and light illumination built into the creation. Digitally interactive, the artwork embraces public participation and encourages engagement. Ultrasound sensors respond and illuminate the sculpture, with LEDs' behaviours changing as it's approached. Audiences can interact by sending messages to the hooded figure; once the data is processed and 'read' it's portrayed as illuminated news streams, coursing through the wire works with graffiti and poetics.
Another major commission, this time a co-commission, and part of an exciting international collaboration with Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles. SPECTRUM from Montreal based collaborative HUB is an interactive installation that invites audiences to talk to the artwork to trigger illumination of the chain of large hoops of light. The idea is to encourage people to engage with the installation, to activate lights and sounds that travel from one side of the artwork to the other. Once words are spoken, people will be able to see and hear their travelling messages through light movement and soundscape. This visualisation of communication will operate from both sides of the freestanding structure, making it possible for visitors to exchange dialogue through the artwork. Spectrum illuminates how we ourselves communicate, and how we decode data with multiple sensors.
London-based creative, Kimatica Studio are famed for creating unique digital experiences that dissolve the boundaries between fantasy and reality. A digital interactive wall will be created for the outdoor space, allowing the public to interact through movement to create a magical illuminated masterpiece.
Creative industry specialist Eagle Labs and a collective led by Manchester-based artist James Medd will produce a new interactive artwork to launch at Lightwaves 2018. Illuminim will take inspiration and creativity from other local artists and community groups, to create floating illuminated buoys that will illuminate in a pattern of lights, in response to audience interaction. Barclay's Eagle Labs are a space to create, innovate and grow, from accelerating UK business to enabling collaborative innovation and digital empowerment for all.
William Latham will create a visionary in to his cyber world, with a Virtual Reality headset for passersby to explore. A professor based at Goldsmiths University in London, Latham was an early pioneer of computer-generated arts.
The Red Squirrel sculpture, from Quays Culture?s Unnatural Borders showcase, will once again migrate to the metropolis of MediaCityUK. An original commission by Sober Industries, the gigantic Red Squirrel sculpture will tower over the public, and when night falls it will become illuminated with stunning visual projections, bringing a magical show of light and illusion to this 3D endangered animal and its location.
Following a touring success, two Quays Culture original commissions will return to Salford Quays. Cathedral of Mirrors, by Mads Christensen, comprises of 12-mirrored columns, each standing at a height of 12 feet. The towering installation reflects the viewer during the day, and at night the internal LED lights react to human movement, creating patterns across a spectrum of colours. Award-winning Heart Beat, by GNI Projects, incorporates perspective interplay through the seemingly sporadic positioning of steel rods. From the side, audiences see a heart rate line running through the structure. At the front of the installation, they are encouraged to join hands with a friend or loved one in order to complete the circuit, using the sensors to reveal the illuminated symbol of a heart.
The SHINE emerging artist programme has commissioned four new up-and-coming artists in partnership with Light Night Leeds, Light Up Lancaster, Light Pool and Enchanted Parks. Gillian Hobson invites audiences to be playful in her installation, Mirror Stage. A large cube structure with reflective surfaces is married with intricate projection displays to create a visually playful space. Jane Webb's Electronika K9 Walk is a light installation for the public realm, created from recycled electronic wires. By day the sculpture is a boy and his dog, and by night it will transform into a captivating illuminated display.
Megan Fell?s interactive installation, Colour Curiosity features a set of upcycled draws, which can be opened by the public. Each draw inhabits a different colour and sound, which will be revealed once opened.
Aura is the brainchild of Ronan Devlin, and a digital light installation that responds to its audiences' emotions. The structure transforms biometric data captured from viewers via a live camera feed and facial recognition. This is displayed as a colour gradient visualisation, representative of the audiences' collective emotional state. Light Lab will present seven artists?work at Lightwaves 2018. The light works on display were developed as part of a residential seminar programme delivered by the Light Up The North Network (LUTN), a consortium of seven light art festivals, including Lightwaves. Nominated artists took part in the seminars and responded to creative briefs; the participating artists exhibiting their works include Aether + Hemera, Mick Stephenson, Debi Keable, Fixed Grinn Collective, Chris Paul Daniels, Dave Lynch and David Ogle.
2018 will, again, see Quays Culture collaborate with lighting legends of the North, Blackpool Illuminations. At 10km long and using over one million bulbs the Blackpool Illuminations are an awesome spectacle, which has been running since 1912. Quays Culture will be showcasing a curated exhibition of Blackpool Illuminations' much-loved light collection, including the popular Daleks and Tardis alongside a bespoke Manchester bee lightbox artwork.
This year a free mobile phone App will be available to download to help visitors navigate their way around the art and other attractions brought to you by the makers of the 'Bee in the City' app.
The celebratory launch weekend will feature special additions to the programme, with a public performance by Manchester Survivors Choir at 7pm on Friday 7 December, and interactive workshops, talks and tours throughout the weekend.
Salford Quays is a hub for the Northwest's best cultural, sporting and leisure destinations, including The Lowry, City Centre Cruises, Ordsall Hall, Helly Hansen Watersports Centre, Quays Culture and Lowry Outlet. Also, located in the area are The Copthorne Manchester, The Alchemist MediaCityUK, Lime Restaurant, and MediaCityUK. Housed within one square mile, all of its attractions are within easy walking distance, making it the ideal location for a day out or weekend break.