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River of Light installations and where to see them

Liverpool’s River of Light festival is illuminating the city’s world-famous waterfront with a host of interactive and immersive installations.

The event opens tonight and runs until November 6, with the artwork lit up for four hours each evening.

Ten works from local, national and international artists and collectives – a mixture of world premieres and existing pieces which have never been seen in Liverpool before - are spread over a 1.2 mile (2km) route which includes Exchange Flags, the Pier Head, Royal Albert Dock and Liverpool ONE.

The event, the third light trail to be held, has the theme Unexpected Twist as a nod to the World Gymnastics Championships which are taking place in the city from October 29.

It has been organised by Culture Liverpool and is supported by Arts Council England.

River of Light runs from October 21 to November 6, from 5-9pm each evening, and here is what you can see where.

Evanescent – Exchange Flags

Evanescent is a larger-than-life bubble artwork, an immersive, light and sound temporary pavilion-esque environment which explores the fragility and temporary nature of the world around us.

As the global pandemic began in 2020, the artists from Sydney-based design studio Atelier Sisu sought a way to represent this new understanding of fragility and came up with the bubble as the “prefect representation of this beauty and transience”.

The material of the artwork is iridescent in the sunlight, but when darkness falls, internal lights illuminate bubbles in vibrant multi colours alongside an accompanying ethereal soundscape.

Kinetic Perspective - Water Street

Inspired by the Optical Art illusions of the 1960s, artist Juan A Fuentes Munoz’s Kinetic Perspective takes a simple piece as its starting point: an ever-spinning circle moving outwards and its illusory effect – creating an abstract, immersive geometric shape, playing with the perspective of visitors by giving the impression of movement.

The audience is invited to actively participate and observe, moving around to uncover the patterns, glimmers and distortion, in which a hidden geometry will be revealed.

Dancing Ribbons – 25 Mann Island

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori’s installation Dancing Ribbons – his first light installation - aims to capture the energy between the gymnast and the prop ribbon and includes a specially created soundscape called Rhapsody of Light by accomplished composer and producer Peter Adjaye.

LED ribbons within a large-scale mesh box suspended from the ceiling will mimic the movement of the gymnasts and recreate the organic forms, colour transitions and joy of a performance.

Electric Dandelions – Pier Head

The Electric Dandelions are giant steel and acrylic sculptures that represent a dandelion flower during the day and come to life at night with mesmerising LED animations which create an intense, endless firework display.

The 28ft tall sculptures, from Abram Santa Cruz/Liquid PXL, have 41 light tubes cropping out from them, and their spherical shape is attributed to the geodesic sphere that lies at the heart of the dandelion.

Continuum – Pier Head

Illumaphonium has created a new geometric matrix of 25 mirrored and luminescent sonic monoliths on the Pier Head which open an infinite, mysterious and magical space within and around the audience.

The 65ft (20m) immersive and interactive artwork features a special soundtrack using recorded samples of the artist Gemma playing a hang drum.

Light Looper – Pier Head

This multicoloured interactive installation with choral soundscape soundscape, the brainchild of Liverpool’s Kazimier Productions, is a multiplayer game where players send particles of lights all around the artwork, building up speed until the piece allows them to send the fully charged particle to the very top.

Players must work together to accelerate a particle of light on a journey from earth to sky.

BEAM – Graving Dock

A new commission from the acclaimed Lucid Creates (artists Helen Swan and Chris Carr), BEAM will see a beam of light transport visitors to a hot, summer’s day, accompanied by the sounds of the British countryside.

But after several minutes the feeling of peace and warmth will change to unease and suspense.

The 100ft (30m) long, 30ft (9m) high LED light installation suspended from a steel frame can be found on the waterfront.

Turn The Light On, It’s Dark in Here – Royal Albert Dock

French artist Camille Walala’s colourful, dynamic piece plays with depth and dimensionality, creating an abstract cityscape of light.

Turn The Light On, It’s Dark in Here uses vibrant primary colours, curves, right angles and cuboid tower-like skyscrapers.

London-based Walala is an influential and critically acclaimed street artist who is best known for her life-size murals and installations as well as post modernism-inspired pieces.

Rainbow Accordion – Thomas Steers Way

Australian artists Amigo & Amigo present the playful Rainbow Accordion, six giant and colourful interconnected archways – 16ft (5m) wide and 13ft (4m) tall - inspired by the traditional instrument.

The archways sit on an interactive pad that when jumped on, sends light and sound through the installation, creating different waves of music and colour.

Affinity – Chavasse Park

Amigo & Amigo’s second River of Light work is an immersive interactive light and sound installation inspired by the human brain

Each light globe represented a neuron and connection in the brain, and when people touch the light globe the colour changes, the more people that interact the further their light travels throughout the sculpture.

Affinity features 62 different colour combinations and 45 points of interactivity.


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