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Follow the River of Light Trail on Liverpool waterfront


Giant artworks are illuminating the Liverpool waterfront over the next two weeks in a special River of Light Trail.

The trail of 11 light and sound installations created by local, national and international artists officially opens to the public tonight, March 23 – marking the date a year ago when the first Coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

Current Covid lockdown restrictions mean only people living locally in Liverpool should come to view the works, and with either their own household or one other person until March 28, and then with five other people or fewer from March 29 to April 5.

People are also asked to wear face coverings and observe social distancing. Anyone who has Coronavirus symptoms should stay at home.

The 1.2 mile/2km long trail includes installations on the waterfront from Salthouse Dock to Water Street, along with works at St Nicholas Church and in Castle Street and Liverpool ONE.

A map of all the locations is available HERE

Meanwhile here is a rundown of what you can see where until April 5. All works will be illuminated between 6.30-10.30pm daily.


Absorbed by the Light – Strand Street

Artist: Gali May Lucas (UK)

Three installations can be found sitting on benches on Liverpool's Waterfront.

The phone and computer screens that, literally and figuratively, light up our lives are irresistible. Our smartphones are with us all the time – in bed, on the train, at our desk. They are an extension of our contact with our families, friends, and even people on the other side of the world.

As a result, we engage ourselves more with the virtual and superficial reality than with each other and the real world around us, something Lucas makes painfully clear.


All in the Balance – Royal Albert Dock

Artist: Lantern Company (UK)

A kinetic illuminated installation of a gigantic Butterfly Mobile surrounded by giant wild grasses and flowers celebrates nature and the coming of spring.

During the global pandemic, many people have appreciated the natural world in new ways. Noticing more and witnessing nature on treasured daily walks has brought new awareness to the precarious global balance our natural environment is in due to unsustainable human activity the world over.

This work – which is 100% recycled - holds up a magnifying glass to the complexity of life-sustaining eco-systems while also being a call to action for the climate emergency we face.


End Over End – Sugar House Steps, Liverpool ONE

Artist: Studio Vertigo (UK)

The Slinky is a familiar toy to most cultures and generations, and this oversized version by Studio Vertigo is both nostalgic and surrealistic, playfully transforming buildings and rooftops into a virtual playground.

Each coil of the enormous spring is illuminated in turn to create the familiar flowing form of a slinky tumbling end-over-end into the shadows.

The idea was originally commissioned by Lumiere Durham in 2019 and inspired by the link between toys and artworks.


Exponential – Chavasse Park

Artist: Lucid Creates

One of a series of installations by Lucid exploring the power of group action, the piece offers an opportunity for self-reflection and discussion around our impact on the planet and society.

A mirrored cube 'floats' within a 3.5m frame that converts audience movement into patterns of light and sounds which travel around and through the piece. Lights and sound respond to audience position to create a mesmerising show.

Each of the four sides of the cube has a sensor which, when triggered by a person, activates a layer of sound and light. When all four sensors are triggered all four layers of sound and light play.


From Here, 2020 – St Georges Dock Pumping Station

Artist: Nathan Colley (UK)

This co-commission between Liverpool Biennial and Culture Liverpool was unveiled in December as the latest in a series of high-profile outdoor artworks on the waterfront following 2018’s Liverpool Mountain by Ugo Rondinone.

The 65ft (20 metre) long text-based light sculpture is made up of the words From Here, All the Worlds Futures, From Here, All the Worlds Pasts.

Inspired by the writing of German philosopher Walter Benjamin, and acknowledging the curator, Okwui Enwezor’s influential exhibition All The World’s Futures at Venice Biennale 2015, Colley’s expansion of the phrase presents a new meaning that reinforces the power of Liverpool as a place, its history and speaks to the hope for the future.


Futures – Pier Head

Artist: Lucid Creates (UK)

Futures was conceived by Chris Carr & Helen Swan of design studio Lucid Creates in reaction to the wide-ranging social, health and environmental issues of 2020 and a desire to ignite communal action and hope after a period where so many of us have felt alone.

Using optical illusion, light and sound, the work takes viewers to a place where we can envision the future we want.

The soundscape is in collaboration with Canadian sound artist, Exist Strategy.


Light a Wish – Pier Head

Artist: OGE Group, Israel. Light Art Collection

Close your eyes, think of your needs, Make a Wish as you blow the tiny, little seeds…

OGE Group’s Light a Wish visualises the moment dandelion seeds disperse in the air, taking your wish with them into the world.

The enlarged, fuzzy seeds – of which there are 20 in total and measure 6ft or two metres in height – dangle carefully in the air and glow in a way that makes it look as though they are breathing.


Neighbourhood – Castle Street

Artist: Sergey Kim (US). Light Art Collection

Illuminated laundry hangs to dry on washing lines, as though it were a hot summer day. Glowing white garments, and a cheerful collection of blouses, T-shirts, underwear, trousers, dresses, a pair of wide Turkish pants, a traditional Jewish dress, and a Moroccan djellaba.

Together these pieces represent the cultural and ethnic mix of residents in the city as a subtle but surprising intervention in the cityscape.

The washing lines create a friendly, neighbourhood feeling. And Kim hopes to send a positive message into the world by using something as every day and universal as drying laundry to represent an image of people coexisting harmoniously.


Rainbow Bridge – Graving Dock

Artist: Josh Zubkoff, Srikanth Gutticonda and Looking Up Artists (US)

Rainbow Bridge is a 75 feet-long, 30 feet-high, 4 feet-deep walkable rainbow sculpture, built of 15,000 pounds of steel and wood, covered in over 25,000 programmable LEDs.

It displays dozens of animations, sound-reactive patterns and interactivity.


Talking Heads – 3 Thomas Steers Way, Liverpool ONE

Artist: Viktor Vicsek (Hungary). Light Art Collection

These two spectacular heads show countless emotions to each other.

Unlike people, these Talking Heads don’t express themselves by using their muscles, but by means of light. Each head uses approximately four thousand LED lamps to show different facial expressions. They visually respond to each other by conducting entire conversations through light. But what exactly are they saying to each other and to the visitors?


Ursula Lassos The Moon – Old Churchyard Garden

Artist: Studio Vertigo (UK)

Unattainable, even divine and spiritual, the Moon has long been thought of as an enchanted and mysterious object. And while no woman has yet stepped foot on the lunar surface, women have long been associated with the Moon. ​​​In mythology it is often represented as female and both have endured narratives of conquest throughout history. Over 50 years since the first Moon landing, NASA has announced that by 2024 its Artemis program will see the next footprint made by a woman. The artwork attempts to combine the natural beauty of the Moon with this narrative of mystery and capture reworked with a female protagonist named Ursula.

The Moon hovers in the air and rotates gently, while its crisp white projection casts a cool glowing light onto the ground.


River of Light Trail runs from March 23 to April 5, from 6.30-10.30pm each day, and Covid restrictions apply.