It’s undeniable that nightscapes have become a captivating phenomenon for many travellers and locals all around the world. In the bustling city of London, nightfall marks a different kind of excitement: the tip of the Shard lights up a colourful gradient detail, the London Eye is dotted with sparkling blue lights, and the movements in the Thames create lingering reflective effects from the street- and restaurant-lights on its banks. To take it a step further and put back a glimmer in people’s eyes in the January gloom, London and Hull are setting up light installations in public spaces to compete with the stars.
As the U.K.’s biggest light festival, Lumiere has brought the London nightscape to life since 2016. Under the direction of the leading art charity, Artichoke, and with the support of the Mayor of London, the festival of 50 installations by local and international artists across the centre of the capital will take place between the 18th and 21st of January, catching the attention of at least one million over four nights. Alaa Minawi’s My Light is Your Light in St. James’ Churchyard sheds light on the Syrian refugees’ migrating experiences, while Rhys Cohen’s Love Motion – in partnership with the Royal Academy of Arts – will sweep you off your feet in Piccadilly. Look out for Guardian Angels by Mario Avrabou and Dimitri Xenaki in King’s Cross, a whimsical take on revealing the importance of nature preservation and the contribution of gardeners, and the return of Patrice Warrener in his second instalment The Light of the Spirit Chapter 2 in Westminster. Being a business and culture hub, London makes sure that art will still be accessible outside galleries and museums after dark. To help you navigate through the dazzling streets, a physical and digital map will be available there. To find out more about Lumiere London, click here.
Moving up North to the U.K.’s City of Culture 2017, Hull, Jason Bruges Studio prepares the final event. His multi-site installation consists of a visual choreographed performance by repurposed 6m high robotic arms (usually hidden from the public heavy-lifting in car factories) fitted with lights that bounce off mirrors and prisms paired with commissioned soundscape, at different locations of the city. It harmoniously combines art and technology in a public space to triumphantly celebrate the cultural and innovative character of Hull and the relevance of the digital in our everyday life; viewers not only get to attend a show but are also guided on a rediscovery of the city shaped by a multitude of architectural styles (the industrial crystalline rock formation of the Deep versus the Queen Anne style semi-detached brick house of Philip Larkins), paying tribute to the navigational heritage of the city with a comprehensive Maritime Museum – historically, Hull is known to be the great port that tied the British to the rest of Northern Europe through exporting (wool and lead) and fishing. To find out more about the Jason Bruges Studio’s Where Do We Go From Here?, click here. To find out more about Hull U.K. City of Culture 2017, click here.
If staying in the over-heated indoors during the cold months is starting to make you feel drowsy, then there’s all the more reason to go out and clear your head while taking in the vibrancy of sundown panoramas. Parks may be the popular destination for walks during the day, but downtown is the it-place by night, where art meets technology, meets people.