From a giant water screen in which passers by can see their faces in a million drops of water, to a fully functioning weather machine, by way of a poetry robot and musical lamp posts, this year’s Light Up Poole festival of light art, which runs after dark from Thursday 21 to Saturday 23 February, can promise experiences like no others.
As well as hosting four world premieres of new works and a European premiere, the festival will also present highly acclaimed pieces by some of the UK’s most influential and innovative light artists shown alongside artworks and installations made by members of the community and local schools.
New media light and sound artist Andy McKeown has worked with Year 9 and 10 students from Carter Community School and local artist Sandie Elkins to realise Digital Ripples, a ground breaking multi-layered digital installation co-commissioned by SoundStorm Music Education Agency. Students have sampled the sounds of Poole and sculpted an aural ‘breadcrumb trail’ heard through glowing speakers placed on lamp posts along the High Street and Quay to the Shambles where Sandie Elkins’s electronica soundtrack can be downloaded.
The trail culminates at the Dolphin Quay flats under the shopping centre where Andy’s ever changing WeatherMACHINE installation will be confounding expectations and inviting visitors to join in the mix of sound, light projections and immersive audio.
Andy McKeown’s practice is predominately based on interactive and reactive new-media light and sound. His works range from intricate multi-projector interior installations to large-scale outdoor light works such as StarGate, which will be outside Poole Museum projecting fleeting images of passers by onto a vertical water surface filtered through continuously moving liquid oil projections.
“Andy has been instrumental in Light Up Poole being able to deliver such an ambitious programme this year – not only showing his own works, but also mentoring our young and emerging artists,” says Libby Battaglia of festival directors Audacious.
The streets of Poole’s Old Town and Quay after dark will be shared by some unusual creations, not least Nyx, Dutch artist Gijs van Bon’s tidal light writer named after the Greek goddess of night that writes light-emitting poetry in the darkness. Also on the prowl will be the stilt-walking Celestial Beings of Elixir Circus Arts ready to strike up conversations and explain who ate the holes in the moon.
As part of its engagement programme, Light Up Poole has also facilitated projection mapping workshops in local schools with the results being shown at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts; while the town’s first Light Art Symposium – Artists, Industry & Community – brings artists and agencies together with Poole’s tourism, business and technology communities.
Justin Hundley-Appleton, manager of Poole BID, the festival’s lead partner and sponsor, adds: “Light Up Poole is illuminating the unique link between the arts, business, technology and tourism in the town. The scope of this year’s festival is hugely impressive and I hope it goes on to reach even higher in the future.”