Lightwaves 2016 will bring light to those dark winter nights, as nine FREE light experiences span across The Quays, from the Plaza between The Lowry and the Lowry Outlet, to MediaCityUK’s Piazza, and even in the River Irwell. Lightwaves 2016 will run daily from 12pm – 10.30pm, from Friday 9 December until Sunday 18 December.

The festival itself will feature new and exclusively commissioned digital art displays alongside emerging talent and legendary illuminations – from local, national, and international artists, each providing a sensory experience, and an ideal opportunity to enhance baby’s visual development. Interactivity plays a big part in the Lightwaves programme this year, with many of the artworks featuring elements, which visitors can engage with to offer an encompassing sensory experience.


A brand new, large-scale commission, specifically for Quays Culture, is Heart Beat, the brainchild of artists and installation specialists, GNI Projects. A co-commission with Blackpool Illuminations, Heart Beat is part of the GNI Project’s ‘Light Love Collection;’ a series of art installations using mixed lighting media to create the symbol of a heart – universally accepted the world over, 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.


A first-time showcase for Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, Voyage comes to the area as part of its global tour. 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 630m2 – the 198 boats were designed to engage with the community and transform the waterfront. The fleet composes an organic matrix of interactive lights, which change colour when passers by 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.


2016 also sees 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 items from Blackpool’s light collection, which reflect the location of MediaCityUK, home to the BBC, including Dr.Who Daleks, Tardis, and Spacemen.

 There collection will also feature iconic, freestanding children’s characters, including Noddy, Postman Pat and SpongeBob, as well as a forest of LED trees.

An emerging talent programme, SHINE, in partnership with Leeds Light Night, sees the creation of three new commissions, from three up-and-coming artists. Footsteps, by Sam Sebbage, consists 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 as its fire-like embers swirl; forming a connection, which is organic, yet synthesised, mechanic, yet fluid.

As part of Quays Culture’s Northern Artist Film Competition, Chris Paul Daniels and Sam Meech won the new commission category. Their commission, One Square Mile, co-commissioned with University of Salford, will employ a range of cinematic techniques to explore environments, architecture and communities within one square mile of Salford Quays and MediaCityUK – the Northern broadcasting beacon from which narratives are edited and distributed. The film will celebrate the diversity of people within the area, and how they interact within it. Full programme of selected Artist Films will also be showing.

Today I Love You, created by Massimo Uberti & Marco Pollice, was commissioned for Amsterdam’s Light Festival 2015. Italian artist, Uberti is known for his poetic light installations; he wrote out this simple, yet beautiful sentence in light, so that the words become matter and, more importantly, the uplifting words are repeatedly enjoyed. This presentation marks the start of a partnership between Quays Culture and Amsterdam Light Festival.

Enter the Digital Workshop, with artist Sarah Wakeford, a creative session for all ages in small groups or solo. This is available for a limited time only during the Light Festival, from Friday 9 December – Sunday 11 December, at 12:00pm-2:30pm and 4:30pm-7:30pm.


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