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Pictures from left to right: DUET, credit Ed Waring; Today I Love You (Lightwaves16, credit Joel Chester Fildes; Light Graffiti, credit Sarah Wakeford.


This winter, Quays Culture will host the UK’s biggest digital light festival, at Salford Quays: Home of MediaCityUK. The annual festival, Lightwaves 2017 will showcase an eclectic programme of digital light art, taking over public spaces for an unforgettable 10 days, from Friday 8 December until Sunday 17 December. #Lightwaves2017


Featuring new and exclusively commissioned digital art displays alongside emerging talent, and light workshops from local, national, and international artists. Lightwaves 2017 will bring light to those dark winter nights, as 10 FREE light experiences span across Salford Quays, from the Plaza between The Lowry and the Lowry Outlet, to MediaCityUK.


Weaving a web of creativity, artist Tom Dekyvere’s new commission brings to life the (dis) connections made between people, with vast amounts of light emitting rope bounded together to form a network; reflecting the network of our current society. The artwork will have an interactive element, displayed on the stepped area of MediaCityUK, a microphone will be placed in the River Irwell, capturing the sounds underneath the surface, translating them from soundwaves into lightwaves. Dekyvere explores the boundaries between nature and technology with his evolving masterpiece, which illustrates togetherness and collaboration through the metaphoric symbols of sound and vision.


International novelist and Scotland’s national poet, Jackie Kay will produce a brand new, large-scale commission, specifically for Quays Culture. Constructing neon artwork, with words that epitomise the mood or a moment in 2017, Kay will draw on the digital landscape of social media to shape her creation. She will also produce a new poem to accompany her neon exhibition, which will take centre stage on the Plaza outside The Lowry.


Commissioned specifically for its location, DUET will be a first-time showcase for Salford Quays and MediaCityUK. Once again, Quays Culture will collaborate with Invisible Flock, on the back of the success of their original co-commission, the DUET App. The app allows its users to build a unique relationship with someone on the other side of the world. DUET anonymously connected participants from India and the UK, inviting them to exchange details of their lives by answering one question a day. Data from the digital connections made between India and the residents of Greater Manchester will be presented as public artwork; capturing fleeting glimpses of the evolving personal relationships and the differences and the similarities of the thousands of conversations that have been taking place. Prior to its arrival at Lightwaves, different guises of DUET’s public artwork will have toured in Mumbai, London and Lincoln. 


The SHINE emerging artist programme will return for the second time to Lightwaves. In partnership with Light Night Leeds, Quays Culture has commissioned four new pieces of artwork from up-and-coming artists…

Brink Dance Company and Howl Creative will piece together a collaborative installation that combines live dance performance with projections of digital and physical worlds.*

Kira Zhigalina’s immersive and interactive installation, ‘Symbiosis’, visualises breathing with a digital dome. Sensors in the artwork detect participants’ breathing patterns; digitally converting them with LEDs.

Naifei Wu’s Storyteller #2 is an installation made up of robots that have been encoded to interact with audiences. The robots will be programmed to tell local stories of people from Salford.

Abstract Playground AP3 is the brainchild of Will Hurt. Part video game, part musical instrument, this piece of technology allows audiences to reconfigure an iconic building at Salford Quays, playing with a geometric design to create their own digital version of the physical form.

The Red Squirrel sculpture, from Quays Culture’s Unnatural Borders showcase in summer 2017, will one again migrate to the metropolis of MediaCityUK. An exclusive commission by Sober Industries, the gigantic Red Squirrel sculpture will tower over the public, and when night falls it will become illuminated with stunning visual projections, bringing a magical show of light and illusion to this 3D endangered animal and its location.


2017 will, again, see 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 a newly curated exhibition of Blackpool Illuminations’ much-loved light collection.


Sarah Wakeford returns following the success of last year’s Light Graffiti Workshop, a creative session for all ages in small groups or solo. This interactive workshop captures participants’ light graffiti in digital form, allowing them to download and takeaway.*


Quays Culture delivers outdoor arts and cultural events, combining the latest in digital and cutting edge technology with the vision of world-class artists throughout the year. Its work ranges from the intimate to the monumental, acting as a series of interventions and invitations to the public realm. Lightwaves 2017 will run daily from 12pm – 10.30pm.


Find out more by visiting:

Twitter @QuaysCulture

Instagram: QuayscultureUK



*Showcasing at the weekends only.


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