UK’s biggest digital light festival returns to Salford Quays


This year’s Lightwaves festival features a collection of outdoor light exhibitions and new and exclusively commissioned digital art displays.

Amongst the illuminations from local, national, and international artists will be something from northern lighting legends, Blackpool Illuminations.  At 10km long and using over one million bulbs, the Blackpool Illuminations is an awesome spectacle which has been running since 1912. This year, Quays Culture will be showcasing items from their light collection to celebrate MediaCityUK as home of the BBC, including Dr.Who, Daleks, Phone Boxes, and Spacemen.

A first-time showcase for Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, Voyage is pre-existing artwork which has been shown globally. Created by Aether & Hemera – a multi-disciplinary art and design studio, producing contemporary lighting art and interaction design – Voyage features six lines of 33 origami boats, occupying a space of 630 sqm.


The 198 boats were designed to engage with the community and transform the waterfront. The fleet creates an organic matrix of interactive lights which change colour when passersby interact with it on their mobile phones.

The public can transform the pattern and colour of the paper boats by connecting their mobile device to Voyage Wi-Fi network and opening their browser to access Users will be given a choice of artworks to interact with, such as a rainbow or the night sky. Choosing an artwork option will change the colour of the boats in the water.

A brand new, large-scale commission, specifically for Quays Culture, is Heart Beat, the brainchild of artists and installation specialists, GNI Project.  A co-commission with Blackpool Illuminations and Quartier de Spectaculars, Montreal, Heart Beat is part of the GNI’s Light Love Collection, a series of art installations using mixed lighting media to create the symbol of a heart – universally accepted as a sign of passion and love.

From one angle Heart Beat is an animated 3D heartbeat pulsing through the sculpture. From another angle, the lights join to form a heart. For the heart to appear spectators are encouraged to make a connection of love, or friendship, by joining hands in front of the sculpture. Human touch reveals the heart. Once the connection is lost the heart is broken into fragments again.

An emerging talent programme, SHINE, in partnership with Leeds Light Night, sees new commissions from three up-and-coming artists.

Footsteps, by Sam Sebbageconsists of 80 illuminated footsteps walking a path. Each footstep is created from artificial grass and embedded with lights, representing the path each of us walks.

Edyta Masior is the artist behind Laiki#3 – fluorescent fishing lines are suspended within a structure and fitted with contact microphones. This interactive installation creates air vibrations when the strings are plucked, creating sound like that of a harp.

Fire Flies, a creation from Fixed Grinn Collective, is a series of floating illuminations, which interact with their surroundings as they ‘fly’ amongst those that visit them. Consisting of hundreds of illuminated LED spheres that seamlessly float, the installation interacts with the public.

Lightwaves 2016 will run daily from Friday 9 December until Sunday 18 12pm – 10.30pm.

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