LightNight is one of the most special dates in Liverpool’s calendar. A one night, free “culture crawl” as the city’s museums, art galleries and iconic buildings open their doors until late, letting arts and culture spill onto the city’s streets.
It’s your one stop-shop for everything spectacularly cultural, hosted at venues around the city that are in perfect walking distance from one another. This year, LightNight Liverpool falls on Friday 19th May and is an absolute must for culture vultures looking for that special weekend trip. Over 900 artists are involved, with over 100 events for all ages and more than 100 arts organisations taking part but don’t worry - we’ve picked some of the events we think you shouldn’t miss!
Where the Time Goes
LJMU John Foster Garden, 17:00 - 23:00
Have you ever wondered, “Where has the time gone?”. Well, musician and composer Jonathan Raisin creates a sound installation for LightNight in a secret garden in the heart of Liverpool based around this common yet usually internal question. With specially written words and music from hidden speakers, it will be a long poem, a meditation to reflect on time, change and what remains the same. Jonathan has also made a series of site-specific pieces, including Sea Breeze at Morecambe's Winter Gardens, and is currently creating a work mapping the city of Liverpool. What a treat!
St George’s Hall, 17:30 - 21:00
Liverpool-based collective Friend or Foe create a music performance for LightNight like no other…An interactive light installation, written and directed specifically in response to the historical space of the catacombs beneath the spectacular Grade-I listed St George’s Hall. The world’s first air conditioning system, this vast cellular stretch of arched corridors operates as the breathing lungs of the building. LightNight will bring the depths of the hall to life using directional sound and light to continually shift spatial perception, with each bulb controlled to react to both sounds and actions of the performance as you walk through the dark passageways. Each performance lasts 30 minutes.
Northern Lights, 17:00 - 23:00
Explore one of Liverpool’s newest creative spaces in the ultra-hip Baltic Triangle area. Journey your way through the new artist-led scheme, Northern Lights, amidst a mindful candle-lit labyrinth walk set amidst the expansive space of Solstice. Artist Alex Irving, supported by LJMU Screen School, mixes light with choral and meditative audio to make LightNight super bright.
- The Handless Project / re-awakening of Unity Theatre
Hope Place and Unity Theatre, 18:30 - 23:00
Nestled amongst the Georgian Quarter of the city, the much-loved Unity Theatre re-opens on LightNight following a £845,000 redevelopment. An evening of performances celebrating 50 years of poetry anthology The Mersey Sound will follow but first, the building needs to be re-awakened. The Handless Project is a 24-hour ritual journey around Liverpool by artist Aleasha Chaunte - inspired by the fairy tale ‘The Handless Maiden’, the journey is inspired by the personal stories of people living and working in Liverpool. At 18:30 the Unity building will be ceremonially ‘awakened’ followed by an installation and performed mediation on the stages of sleep. Be a part of it!
LJMU John Lennon Building, 18:00 - 23:00
In a new commission, artists Logan & Wilcox create a new large-scale work that builds on previous experiment ‘neu collective consciousness’ on 2016’s LightNight. Through greater mental effort, participants were able to manipulate the audio-visual environment and in Zugzwang (A situation in chess when the obligation to make a move in one's turn is a serious, often decisive, disadvantage) multiple users will have a degree of passive authorship; blurring the roles of artist and audience. The focus of this experiment will be how participants can act as ‘conductors’ and influence the biometric data generated by the other participants in the system. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
- What if we could remake time?
Liverpool Town Hall, 18:00 - 21:00
But seriously, wouldn’t that be eye-opening? In this talk, philosopher Dr. Michelle Bastian (Edinburgh College of Art) discusses clock-time and its possibilities for being redesigned. Exploring examples of how artists, activists and designers have remade the clock, she asks whether clock-making could be opened up to non-experts and used to explore the conflicting times of our everyday lives. What kind of time would you want a clock to tell? LightNight will have you thinking.
Ropewalks Square, 21:00 - 23:00
A collaboration between sound artist Bill Thompson and dance artist Saffy Setohy, Light Field invites people to both become and activate the installation. Lo-fi kinetically powered sound and light objects create a field of gently glowing beacons, controlled by choreography and movement. The sound score will be made of the sound of light and Natural Radio to complete what promises to be a stunning visual performance as the light fades.
- Same as we Ever Were
Albert Dock, 17:00 - 20:00
Liverpool’s beautiful and world-renowned waterfront will be the stage for Merseyside Dance Initiative (MDI’s) experiential outdoor performance with community groups and professional dance artists. Working with five community groups and with performers aged 1-75, movement material changes and manifests itself throughout this experiential performance as the dance passes from group to group. Performers change and mature as the evening passes, leading us through memories and experience on a trail through the Albert Dock. The perfect place to spend an evening!
LightNight After Party: Time Capsule
Constellations, 22:00 – 02:30
Who doesn’t love an after party? Keep your LightNight going into the early hours! A live future-Polaroid / AV installation meets club project, presented by artist Sam Wiehl and soundtracked by the indomitable Andy Votel (Finders Keepers). Enter Constellations via the Time Capsule scanning booth and see your image evolve into a digital memory bank played out across a bespoke AV installation, degrading and morphing during the course of the show. Finish off your festival with this hedonistic horological mash-up; a fitting soiree to bring down the curtain on an incredible evening. Get your tickets quick! lightnightliverpool.co.uk
Victoria Gallery and Museum, 21.00 - midnight
Coinciding with the exhibition of Liverpool born artist John Higgins, who found global success as a comic book artist and writer for 2000AD, DC and Marvel, see the famous red brick VG&M like you’ve never seen it before. In a specially commissioned installation for LightNight, the clock tower plays host to a giant Dredd, and his army, who will oversee the creation of a mutant ‘Cursed Earth’ dandelion. Dandelions have long been a way to tell the time of day by blowing away the seeds, and this time it will be no different. Help bring the dandelion to life this May!
Phew. With so much amazing stuff going on, you’re bound to get some great snaps – make sure to tag #itsliverpool on Twitter and Instagram so that we can see!
For the full festival line up, head to www.lightnightliverpool.co.uk