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21 Events to Make This Year’s Light Night the Best One Yet

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

From huge projections to ingenious installations, here's your at-a-glance guide to Light Night.

Fantastic Planet, Light Night

Light Night is back! Leeds will soon be transformed with a series of wonderful cultural events that will light the city up after dark.

It’s one of the cultural highlights of the year – Light Night will return from Thursday 4th to Friday 5th October 2018 with a host of new exhibitions, installations and projections by artists from Leeds and beyond. But before you bumble blindly into the fray, let us introduce you to the best and most unusual events taking place across the city. With two nights to explore Leeds after dark, maybe you can do them all…

1. The Art of Protest. This after-dark parade will be a sea of neon banners, pounding drums, LED signs and illuminated puppets. It kicks off this year’s Light Night on Thursday to mark 100 years of women’s suffrage, and if you can’t go see it at the launch, you can check out their creations in Park Square on Friday.

2. Chaos. The facade of Leeds Civic Hall will be transformed once again for Light Night. Spanish artists Hotaru Visual Guerrilla have taken inspiration from the University of Leeds’ research into quantum chaos to explore the beauty of chaos through abstract projections using light, sound and movement.

3. Light Night Big Top. To celebrate 250 years of the modern circus, the Leeds Children’s Circus will put up a Big Top in Kirkgate Market. From stilt walkers to diabolos, get ready to be wowed by incredible performers in this family-friendly performance. Roll up, roll up!

A Certain Amount of Courage, Light Night

4. Celestial Sound Cloud. Pif Paf are bringing their interactive digital sound and light sculpture to Trevelyan Square. It’s inspired by cosmic clouds and nebulas – if you sing, move or dance underneath it, the installation changes helping you to create your own unique Light Night experience.

5. Sit Bach and Enjoy. What do you do at a concert? That’s the question this Howard Assembly Room performance asks. A single light drops onto a musician as they play Bach’s best works – it’s up to the audience to decide if you want to sit on the chaises-longues or the floor, to make a call on when you arrive and when you leave.

6. The Glo Men. Are you ready to be dazzled? This dance troupe takes inspiration from the futuristic world of Tron and uses state-of-the-art technology to create LED suits that bring their innovative choreography to life. Watch as their gear changes colour in sync with one another to a backdrop of fire art.

Dr Kronovator's Fire Laboratory

Credit: Emergency Exit Arts

7. Dr Kronovator’s Fire Laboratory. Introducing the twisted fire starter – Queen’s Square will be on fire for Light Night as Dr Kronovator sets up his flame and steam-powered contraptions. You can walk up to and ignite his creations, as they throw huge flames into the night sky. Don’t worry, it’s totally safe.

8. Evaporation. Callective has teamed up with Sonder Studios and Pop Up & Play to create a series of immersive installations around Leeds Dock. They’ll explore the relationship between our personal experiences of the area and of Britain’s waterways as a whole using different types of technology.

9. The Norms: Process & Production. Dr Simpo’s exhibition at Leeds College of Art is a glow-in-the-dark showcase of comic art with a challenge – can you find the 13 (unlucky for some) spooky characters around the exhibition? If you do, you’ll get a spook spotters badge.

Light Night 2017, Heofon Light Maze

Credit: Miguel de Guzman/Imagen Sublimnal

10. Sound of Infinity. Go to Headrow House and step inside Kira Zhigalina’s walk-in infinity mirror. Once you’re in, your voice will activate and alter the LED lights to create an experience unique to you. But it’s not just for you – the people outside can see it too.

11. Heofon Light Maze. See Sovereign Square transformed by Ben Busche and Brut Deluxe’s triangular geometry maze. As you walk through it, the acrylic glass panels will reflect and shift light rays along the entire spectrum of the rainbow. You’ll then enter an infinity room, which is a unique blend of light patterns and changing colours.

12. The Rainbow Platform. The Enlighten Project want to know what defines your experience of Light Night, so they’re asking you to pick a colour and an emotion. It could be yellow and happy or purple and proud – you can let them know by tweeting them using the hashtag #englightenleeds and see if your combo makes it onto to screens high above the city at the Platform Building.

wallFours Lase Games, Light Night

Credit: wallFour

13. SØL. Leeds Corn Exchange is the venue for a series of performances from the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra. They’ll play new works from composer John Lyon as Light Night favourites Howl Creative transform the incredible architecture of the historic building using visual projections.

14. Laser Games. wallFour will bring its award-winning laser controlled game experiences to Carriageworks Theatre for Light Night. Their unique technology turns giant screens into multi-player game spaces. Use laser pointers to control what’s on the screen and work together as a team win out.

15. Spectral. See the natural and constructed world come together in St John’s Gardens. Polish artists Kataryna Malejka and Joachim Sługocki will explore the abstract and geometric in their work as they install a colourful cord work that’s lit up by the night sky.

Light Night Cirque Bijou

16. Forgotten. Create Studio has taken its cues from an old Leeds myth – Leeds used to have six wooden gates to protect the city, and it’s said that a dragon once guarded the West Bar, but when it closed, it was chained in a dungeon. Now, the dragon has awoken and will be projected onto The Queens Hotel using 3D video mapping, CGI visuals and live pyrotechnics.

17. Moon Beam. The world class aerial artists of Cirque Bijou will be hanging from the top of Trinity Leeds. You can see a thrilling high wire performance as these daredevil space acrobats attempt to walk across a wire suspended above your heads with the illuminated Trinity rooftop as an impressive backdrop.

18. Fantastic Planet. It may look like huge aliens have landed in Leeds city centre, but don’t worry, Amanda Parer’s giant light humanoids are harmless. These incredible inflatable creatures on the streets and rooftops around Victoria Leeds and Briggate are designed to look like they’re tentatively exploring the city.

Bouquet D'abat Jour

Credit: Tilt

19. Ultiverse. Immerse yourself in a room of light and sound at The Tetley. Akeelah Bertram has created an abstract world that responds to bodies and movements. What you see and hear will change as people move in, around and out of the space.

20. The Bureauxx. Polish artist Daniel Kurniczak will transform a nondescript office building on Bond Court into a playful installation that tries to bridge the gap between the monotony of the daily grind and the enjoyment of an artistic festival like Light Night.

21. Bouquet D’Abat Jour. French artists TILT are back to transform the space in front of the Town Hall. They’re planting their gigantic outdoor versions of the traditional living room lamp here. See them light up in different colours and sit underneath them as each light is surrounded by benches.