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Saturday, 17 October 2015

Light Night Leeds

Light Night Leeds is an annual event across Leeds city centre. This is there 11th Year and they had over 60 artists doing incredible things all across the city just for one night! There is no way to see all the exhibitions and acts in one night. I gave my best to try and look at as much work as I could. You can see lots of images and tweets #ArtinTheDark to see what I missed out on.
My evening started with Whale Song which was on the River Aire. The piece was produced by LCI Productions Ltd. There was a huge swell of a crowd along the river side. We all stood in anticipation and then a fan of water sprayed out in the middle of the water, then came projections on to the surface of the spray.
 It started with Jelly fish and sea birds floating across the spray and then the sound of Whales calling began. In the darkness you could see vague shapes until a whale emerged!
 The performance was ten minutes of the Whale’s song as it continued to rise and fall on the surface.

I walked over to the Grand Theatre and saw a performance by Opera North Called Parklife. I walked into a hall beautifully lit by old fashioned street lamps and hanging street lights. There were deck chairs surrounding a carousel in the centre. 
I stayed for a couple of violin performances, the setting was incredibly peaceful and romantic, and everyone was silently captivated.
I headed up to The Belgrave Music Hall just up the road from the Grand. The place was packed out with people; I made my way through the crowds to the back of the Belgrave and up a series of stairs. I came into a large hall and people were all holding large boards with paper and pencils. I turn and look up at the stage and there is a burlesque performer on stage with a pair of large fans strategically swapping to cover her modesty. I had entered into Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School, where people could sketch performers which were interspersed with life models in unusual poses. 

After a while I scurried back to St John the Evangelist Church. I passed Debi Keable’s To The Better Place We Dream Of an outdoor light installation. Which used screen print on transparent material and glow in the dark pigments to create large lantern which stood ethereal in the graveyard.
When I entered the church I sat in one of the stalls and watched TheBook of Darkness and Light: A Macabre Tale to Music by Adam Z Robinson andBen Styles. It was a spoken ghost story set to a violinist; I felt they could have done more to set the scene, the cathedral lights were on in a space losing sense of atmosphere being created by the two fellas. What was irritating is that they allowed people to come in and out creating lots of distracting surrounding noise in the large and echoing space. It’s a shame because had they dimmed the lights or even had none at all and a few candles they could have really embellished upon the naturally spooky setting. The acting and the story telling was really strong though and that kept me captive.
I moved on to Age UK to experience Trace Your Neighbour by Joely Fielding. This was possibly the most interesting event I attended. Participants had to sign up to a session which could only be experienced in small groups. We entered into the room and had our picture taken. We were then invited to take a seat and sit opposite a stranger.
I was sat opposite a man with glasses his wife and son were also in the room. We were asked to look at the person opposite and then lower our heads and close our eyes. We’re then asked a series of questions about how you interact with strangers, it was all quiet intense and awkward as I was stood looking at the person opposite me.We opened these transparent boxes, turned on a LED light, and had a picture which was placed on top of the lit up box. We then placed tracing paper on top of the picture. I was sat thinking this box was have made drawing all the MPs so much quicker! I'm definately using this box method on my next project.
 We were then instructed to draw over the tracing as she continued to ask questions. The questions made me think about how I interact with strangers and the numbers of people I pass on a daily basis and know nothing about. It was a really unusual experience and what was a really nice about it is that we then hung our images up and talked to each other about our drawings.  You can see more images on #TraceYourNeighbour
 After this I walked over to Leeds Cathedral. Inside was David Henckel’s The Sun at Night. This was close to a lot of the central action, there was a queue all down the street and when I entered the whole of the Cathedral was rammed full of people. 
The Sun at Night was being projected on a screen with a deafening soundscape that filled the room with a majestic ambiance. 
The projection of the sun is from real footage from NASA showing actual solar flares and moments on the surface of the sun. This piece attracted a lot of people to humbly stare in awe in a very spiritual setting.  
 After this I headed to Leeds City Museum to view 3D DJ by Fit MotionGraphics. Originally this was designed to be used as a DJ booth. The installation uses projection mapping to give illusion of depth and movement. With an ipad used as a keyboard audience member played tunes on which corresponded with squares which then lit up on the boxes. 
Everything else was closed at the Museum so I headed over to see the Tears of the Angels by Sharon Caton-Rose at the Methodist Church.
As I was walking over there was a humongous crowd around town hall for some of the circus acts. I couldn’t even get a look in so I continued on.
I stayed for a while in the Tears of the Angels, it was a really peaceful setting and I loved how each of the jewels reflected the lights from the surrounding projections. There were 77 hand crafted bowls individually different to each other. It was like looking at a snapshot of the rain as is pelts the earth.
Afterwards I managed to sneak through the crowds and head down into YourColour Perception by Liz West in The Crypt, Leeds Town Hall.
 The room was bathed in colour and it made me think of Irrepressible In this Shirt. Everyone was walking around the space and taking selfie’s it was a fun way to wind down before my journey home. 

Finally before I got my train home I passed Audio Surf, DylanFitterer supported by Lumen Arts projected on the front of Queens Hotel at the City Square. This large scale projection covered the entire hotel and allowed people to choose a song which then impacted on the racer’s performance, depending on what was chosen the shape, speed and mood of each ride was determined. What an incredible idea I wish it was there all the time. It was fantastic end to a wonderful evening exploring Leeds! 


  1. This looks like such an awesome event! I wish I could be there.

  2. It was a really cool event I wish I could freeze time though, just so I could see all the different things that were happening :)