Arts / Bristol Light Festival

Bristol Light Festival: dates and first artists confirmed

By steve wright, Thursday Jan 16, 2020

It may be cold, grey and dark out there – but a feat of light and colour is just around the corner, in the shape of the inaugural Bristol Light Festival.

From Friday, February 28 through to Sunday, March 1, between 5pm and 11pm each evening, the Bristol Light Festival will showcase renowned international light artists alongside Bristol talent across six carefully selected locations, creating a light trail through the city centre. A preview night on Thursday, February 27, meanwhile, will show off the installations for the first time to businesses and residents.

The Light Festival includes some unexpected locations as well as some of the city’s well-trodden paths including Castle Bridge (linking Castle Park and Finzel’s Reach), Cascade Steps, Queen Square, Park Street and College Green. Each location will feature light art installations – some brand new installations created exclusively for the Festival, others visiting the south-west for the first time.

Delivered, curated and produced by Bristol based creative directors, Katherine Jewkes and Vashti Waite, the Festival is the first of a three-year series produced by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with Bristol City Council and the University of the West of England.

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Among the exhibitors, international light artist, Tine Bech will bring her playful installation Pink Enchantment (pictured top) to Bristol for the first time. A former UWE graduate and current resident at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, Bech designed the installation for Bristol while studying for her PhD at UWE. She has since showcased it internationally – but this will be the first time that the installation has been exhibited in the city for which it was intended.

Bech’s interactive light installation will transform Castle Bridge, immersing passers-by in an ethereal pink light as they cross the water. Activated by people walking across the bridge, the installation features bursts of pink fog and lights illuminating the way.

Elsewhere, Queen Square will host Wave-Field Variation Q, created by Lateral Office and CS Design with soundscape by Mitchell Akiyama.

Queen Square will host Wave-Field Variation Q, created by Lateral Office and CS Design with soundscape by Mitchell Akiyama

Originating in Canada, the collection of eight giant, illuminated see-saws will create an interactive, fun and ever-changing light installation. As the see-saws are played on, lights and music are activated, allowing visitors to co-create their own piece of art.

And, in a uniquely Bristolian touch, a four-foot neon sign will be installed by Cascade Steps on the Centre, featuring that none-more-Bristolian phrase ‘Cheers Drive’. Selfies ahoy…

A further three art installations will be announcing ahead of the event.

Vicky Lee, Bristol City Centre BID project lead, said, “We are delighted to bring this new winter festival to Bristol. We have carefully selected the locations to respond to key challenges of the city centre. We will be using innovative ways to reduce antisocial behaviour, while also driving benefits to local businesses by encouraging people to explore the city centre.”

Katherine Jewkes, Bristol Light Festival co-director, added: “For the first edition of Bristol Light Festival, we have curated a group of fantastic local and international artists who all embody the playful and creative spirit of the city. We are excited to be working alongside the rich and varied talents of Bristol’s unique cultural sector and city-centre businesses to create a new Light Festival for the people of Bristol, both this year and building across the three-year series.”

For more information and updates about Bristol Light Festival, visit www.bristollightfestival.org and follow them on Twitter @BrisCentreBID #Bristollight

Top pic: Pink Enchantment by Tine Bech Studio, image from Reykjavik City Hall Bridge, Iceland

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