The free ‘art after dark’ spectacular returns with over 60 citywide events this weekend
As the evenings draw in, Leeds gears up for its annual illuminated spectacular; transforming spaces outdoors and in with a glittering array of performances, street art and interactive installations from around the globe.
Commissioning award-winning international artists, supporting exciting local talent and spreading its radiant wings right from the university to the South Bank, Light Night’s 15th episode (10th - 11th October) celebrates the theme of ‘mind, body and spirit’ with one of its most ambitious programmes yet. Wrap up warm and enjoy the festival with our top ten highlights…
Polish artist Pani Pawlosky’s fusion of surrealist imagery and sound will turn Millennium Square into a dreamlike mirage, using her own photography and animation to project onto the historic Civic Hall building. Expect mysterious romantic music and visuals that’ll stay with you beyond the Friday night.
The steps of the Town Hall will be the backdrop for many an Instagram feed, as With Love invites audiences to couple up this autumn. The huge ruby heart takes you and your partner's combined pulse, and translates it into your very own love song. This clever BPM technology is the work of interdisciplinary artist Franck Pelletier, hailing from, you guessed it, France.
Wave-Field will bring out the child in everyone, as Victoria Gate becomes a giant neon playground of musical seesaws. Jump on with friends and family, and experience the quietly thrumming patterns bursting into melodic sound. Can’t make Thursday or Friday night? The seesaws will be in place throughout the weekend for young and old to enjoy.
Unleash your competitive streak with Briggate Zone’s interactive cycling challenge destined for candescent glory. As one of the installations paying homage to Leeds’ year of sport, you’ll be able to pedal against your pals to power your looming light beam across to the opponent’s side. The Tour de Yorkshire has nothing on this.
How could we forget the parade? This year exploring the weird and wonderful phantoms of your imagination, the procession kicks of Light Night on Thursday evening with twirling lanterns, giant rainbow-hued dancers, and even a sleeping baby carried along by the crowd. Watch out for local theatre company The Northern Rascals’ little monsters being chased by the militant Spark! LED Drummers.
THE INDI’S FILM FESTIVAL PRESENTS…LIGHT & DARK VR CINEMA
If you’re up for a total out of body experience, head to The Carriageworks where the Independent Directions Film Festival are taking over the venue with the latest Oculus GO VR headsets. Light is a family-friendly dive into undiscovered worlds, whilst Dark (18+) is the ultimate terrifying Stranger Things adventure.
Light Night simply wouldn’t be possible without its awesome team of dedicated volunteers. Unlocking the door to some of the city’s most iconic and disused spaces, installing artworks, capturing the magic of the festival on camera and ensuring the public have an unrivalled experience, they’ll be on hand for a warm welcome. Need information? Spot one of the 200-strong community in white.
THE STREET FOOD
Light Night has massively upped its game when it comes to street food this year; with stalls on Cookridge Street, Millennium Square, the Armouries and within the Tower Works forecourt at the new Temple Zone. Relish gourmet pies, churros, artisan pizza and authentic Thai cuisine, as circus performers navigate the streets with perilous tricks and fantastical puppets.
Presented by the British Library, Voyage helps mark the Thai Buddhist end of lent, Loy Krathong festival, with an immersive and peaceful canalside landscape. The event features over 100 illuminated origami boats, one of which you can hand craft at their Reflections on the Water workshops. Witness the Docks rippling with light, all controlled from your smartphone.
Every year Light Night welcomes emerging artists as part of the Light Up The North Network’s Shine program and, deep within the Town Hall crypt, you’ll be able to catch Akeelah Bertram’s Return. Connected to a parallel portal at The Tetley, Return explores the idea of diaspora as a social, physical and mental state of separation, and aims to bridge people of African descent to audiences across the continent.
Light Night Leeds runs from 6-11pm on October 10th & 11th throughout the city centre. See the full programme here
With Love photo: Baptiste Lobjoy