Looking back at Lightwaves 2016

In December 2016, Salford Quays and MediaCityUK became home to 9 large-scale, digital light artworks as part of Lightwaves, the UK’s biggest digital light festival. The programme was our most ambitious to date, with a brand new commission as well as presentations of work from both UK and international artists. Heart Beat by GNI Projects warmed the hearts of many as they connected with their friends and loved ones to complete the circuit and bring the artwork to life on the Lowry Plaza. Voyage, by Aether and Hemera, proved to be a favourite; visitors were able to change the colour of the origami-esque boats using their mobile phones, lighting up the water in a multitude of ways long into the night. World-famous Blackpool Illuminations visited Salford for the first time, with BBC favourites Dr Who and The Daleks amongst the selection. SHINE Emerging Artists took over the MediaCityUK Gardens, with interactive works by Fixed Grinn Collective and Edyta Masior. In keeping with the history of The Quays, a shipping container housed a selection of films as part of the Northern Artist Film Competition. We are delighted to hear that One Square Mile, a co-commission with the University of Salford, will feature in film festivals and be screened at HOME in the future.

Brilliant, great for the family and getting outside in the Winter

Events over the opening weekend sparked intrigue and delight, with visitors getting involved in a number of ways. Honour Choir opened the festival on Friday evening with a stunning performance; a light graffiti workshop was held in the Lowry Outlet, combining LED technology with clever camera work to create vibrant and unique imagery; GNI Projects held an Artist Talk where they discussed their creative process and influences; there was even something for the little ones to enjoy, as we teamed up with Baby Moves for a special sensory workshop and tour.

Great event, we have 4 children (ranging from age 2 – 14) and they all enjoyed it – a rare thing!

Over 350,000 visitors enjoyed seeing the location lit up in new and innovative ways. We loved seeing people engaging with the artworks across Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, from enjoying the interactive technology to taking selfies with Spongebob! The event was ranked #2 ‘best things to do in Britain’ by The Telegraph and featured on BBC Breakfast during its launch day. We’re grateful to everyone involved in making Lightwaves such a huge success, from our partners, to volunteers, suppliers and extra staff. If you missed it, see some of the highlights on social media using the hashtag #Lightwaves16

Looking Ahead – 2017

The new year seems to be moving along at full speed with lots of exciting developments. We’re currently working on a project, Duet, with Invisible Flock and Quicksand in celebration of the UK and India’s year of cultural exchange. Duet anonymously connects participants from the UK and India, allowing them to build a unique relationship with someone on the other side of the world for up to a year. Participants are invited to exchange details of their lives by answering one question a day through an app. Prompted by duet, a participant gradually builds a picture of their partner and their surroundings through shared messages. The app is due to launch soon, stay tuned for more details.