It’s time to look ahead to see what 2022 holds and there’s a bright light on the horizon, it’s the return of Bristol Light Festival. From 1st-6th March, the festival will bring together a showcase of renowned light artists and installations from across the UK, featuring the best of Bristol’s talent, to fill the city with colour and vibrancy.
This year the festival will feature six world premier works, brand new for Bristol, alongside some of the best of the UK’s talent, all making their Bristol debut at carefully selected locations across the city. Visitors can wander and explore the city’s streets to see the light art works come to life and enjoy Bristol’s wonderful retail and hospitality businesses along the way.
From 5pm-10pm, the installations will shine a light in a few unexpected places as well as illuminating some of Bristol’s most iconic landmarks around Park Street, Queen Square, St George’s Bristol, Cabot Circus, Castle Bridge, Temple Gardens, College Green and the Harbourside.
The organisers of this year’s festival are delighted to announce that they have been successful with a grant application to Arts Council England which will support the delivery of a selection of daylight and green energy installations, adding a new dimension to the event and the opportunity for those visiting and working in the city to experience some of the artworks throughout the day. Both day and night, the event is the perfect opportunity for friends, colleagues, and families to meet up and spend time together in the city centre, Redcliffe and Temple and Cabot Circus
This is the second festival brought to you by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), supported by 760 local businesses. This year’s festival is also in partnership with Redcliffe & Temple BID, Arts Council England, Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project and Cabot Circus.
The safety and wellbeing of visitors is a priority, and a series of COVID-19 safety requirements will be implemented including social distancing, hand sanitisation stations, the inclusion of artworks that can be viewed from a distance and an increased event duration to spread visitor numbers across six days and evenings.
Today, Bristol Light Festival announces a selection of artists and installations that will be part of this year’s event.
Bird spotting at St George’s and Temple Gardens
Internationally renowned audio-visual artist, Kathy Hinde will present two nature inspired creations at this year’s event. Based in Bristol, Kathy is an active member of film and sound collective, Bristol Experimental Expanded Film, and a resident at Pervasive Media Studio, creating much of her work here in the city.
One of Kathy’s installations will feature in the garden at St George’s Bristol (just off Park Street) and give a new meaning to bird spotting! The light and sound sculpture, ‘Chirp & Drift’ is a flock of illuminated instruments that look like birds and that chatter in morse-code messages. As visitors walk beneath, the gentle tones and harmonies made by accordion reeds hidden inside each ‘bird’ can be heard in a delicate and gentle way.
‘Luminous birds’ will feature in Temple Gardens, the animated flock of traditional origami-style birds will suspend overhead. Each bird has a slightly different wing position to create a sequence similar to a stop-motion animation with accompanying sounds adding to the artwork.
Somewhere over the rainbow…
Lighting designers Toy Studio will bring their colourful and immersive daylight installation to Bristol for the first time. ‘Circle of Light’ will encircle the equestrian statue in Queen Square and create coloured shadows that extend and contract depending on the time of day, angle, and intensity of the sun.
Visitors can experience ‘Circle of Light’ from a distance, taking in the rainbow of colours spanning the square, or can walk through each colour shadow and see the city in a different light. The installation will also be part of the evening programme when it will light up and again bathe the square in a spectrum of colour.
A waterfall of light
One of this year’s new commissions for Bristol Light Festival is being created by Squidsoup, a group of internationally renowned artists, designers and technologists. ‘Cascade’ is an exuberant fountain of energy, light and sound, that will emanate from the top of Left Handed Giant brewpub creating waves of sound and light as it cascades into the river below.
Named after one of the original variety of hops, ‘Cascade’ is the latest incarnation in Squidsoup’s ongoing explorations into the immersive possibilities of spatialised light and sound. Each light orb is designed and hand built by Squidsoup, creating a highly immersive experience sure to surprise and delight visitors to the festival.
Lucid Creates at Cabot Circus
Multi-disciplinary design Studio, Lucid Creates, will bring two light installations to Bristol for the first time, showing at Cabot Circus. ‘Exponential’ is a seemingly-floating, kaleidoscopic mirrored cube, encased in endlessly moving patterns of light, triggered by an hour-long ambient soundtrack, ‘Futures’ is an immersive space in which audiences experience illusions that can reveal everything from how they process space and time to their perception of consciousness. Lights move in sync with a transportive ambient soundscape by Canadian artists “Exist Strategy” to create an hour-long immersive AV experience.
Lucid Creates specialises in interactive and spectacular art pieces, their installations at Cabot Circus are not to be missed.
Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, said;
“We are delighted to be bringing Bristol Light Festival back to the city this year and hope it will be a marker of change to brighter times ahead. The festival is a key part of the recovery programme to help support businesses back to full strength after the challenging last two years, by encouraging people to explore and spend leisure time in the city centre.
“We have selected locations to respond to key challenges in the city centre and will be using innovative ways to reduce anti-social behaviour and transform the streets into playful spaces for all. The event will showcase Bristol as the vibrant, playful and creative city that we know and love.”
Katherine Jewkes, Creative Director said;
“This year, we have curated a programme that is reflective of Bristol’s creative spirit – we want to make space for people to dance, play and explore all that Bristol has to offer. Many pieces in the programme this year are completely new works which will have their worldwide debut in Bristol. We are thrilled to be showcasing a mix of homegrown talent, artists from the South West who have never been shown on this scale in the city before, alongside some of the most exciting artists in the UK today.
“We know that it’s been a difficult few years for many since our last edition at the start of 2020, and hope that our return shines a hopeful new light on the year to come”.
For more information and updates about the event please visit www.bristollightfestival.org and follow us on Instagram @Bristol_Light_Fest, Twitter @Bristol_Light and Facebook and using the hashtag #Bristollightfestival.