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

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

This is what you need to do this Light Night.

Light Night Angels of Freedom

Light Night is back for another celebration of art and culture on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th October 2019. You can check out over 60 exhibitions, installations and projections inspired by the festival theme of mind, body and spirit. Download the app or pick up a festival guide now.

Light Night is back! For two days, a series of wonderful cultural events will light up Leeds after dark…

It’s one of the biggest events of the year and Light Night will return from Thursday 10th to Friday 11th October 2019 with over 60 exhibitions, installations and projections. This year, they’re inspired by the mind, body and spirit. But before you bumble blindly into the fray, let us introduce you to the best and most unusual events taking place this year.

Light Night Wave Field

‘Wave-Field’ by Lateral Office and CS Design with soundscape by Mitchell Akiyama.

1. When Dreams Run Wild. The Illuminated Parade will weave its way around Leeds featuring a centre-piece artwork by The Lantern Company to launch Light Night 2019. El Carramato’s Big Dancers will swing above the crowd and Picto Facto’s giant Lampaphadores will tower over you.

2. Wave-Field. When was the last time you went on a see-saw? If you visit Victoria Gate on Light Night, you can relive your youth by riding one of their illuminated musical see-saws. As you move up and down, you’ll create patterns and harmonies that amplify as more people play.

3. Lightbattle X. This year, you can take part in a special cycling challenge at Light Night. Head to Briggate where a pair of crossed arches made of thousands of LED lights will be connected to two cycles. Your task is to light your arch quicker than your opponent by pedalling as fast as you can.

Light Night 2019

‘Lightbattle X’ by VENIVIDIMULTIPLEX. Credit: Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images for Hong Kong Tourism Board

4. The Vision. Projection mapping artists Ocubo will take you into a world of dream-like imagination in The Vision. A set of huge eyes will appear on The Queens Hotel and act as a doorway into the human mind to take you on an immersive trip into the dreams of the characters.

5. With Love. Franck Pelletier’s ginormous bright red heart will take the pulse of the city at Leeds Town Hall. Head to the desk with your partner and get your collective BPM measured. Whatever number you reach, they will play an extract of a love song that matches your heart rate as the heart glows in front of you.

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

Light Night With Love

‘With Love’ by Franck Pelletier. Credit: Baptiste Lobjoy

7. Les Footballeurs. To mark the 100th anniversary of Leeds United in 2019, French artist Reni Brun has brought his Les Footballeurs installation to the city. You can check out two light sculptures that show an attacker striking the ball and a goalkeeper diving to make a save using cleverly sequenced LED lights.

8. Strange Stranger. Choreographer Alexander Whitley draws on the idea of our ‘data shadow’, traces of our digital self we leave behind, to explore how strange the world is becoming. The performance at The Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre takes place around a grid of three-metre high towers where structures appear, transform and vanish into the shadows.

9. Swan Song. Opera North has teamed up with Urban Projections and the Manchester Collective to create a symphony in St John the Evangelist Church and Gardens. Inspired by birdlife, trees come alive in music, birdsong and light to a soundtrack of Rautavaara’s ‘Swans Migrating’ and Messiaen’s ‘Catalogue of the Birds’.

Light Night Big Dancers

‘Big Dancers’ by El Carramato.

10. Brainlight. Want to see how your mind works? Head to Holy Trinity Church where Brainlight will reveal your unique neural signature using augmented technologies. They’ve been programmed to show the inner workings of the brain in colourful light, so you can see how it changes as you watch.

11. Angels of Freedom. Five angels have descended from heaven and landed in Victoria Gardens. Created by OGE with artists Merav Eitan and Gaston Zahr, each one has brightly lit wings that change colour. You can become part of the art by standing under the halo – it’s the ultimate Light Night selfie.

12. Telekinetic Rumours. The facade of Leeds Civic Hall will be transformed for Light Night. Polish artist Pani Pawlosky fuses imagery, music and sound to create an immersive dreamlike story that explores the energy flow between mind, body and soul.

Light Night Reflecting Holons

‘Reflecting Holons’ by Martens and Visser. Credit: Bollamann

13. Reflecting Holons. Step inside Leeds Town Hall to see this mesmerising installation from Martens & Visser. These glass sculptures look like giant bubbles or water drops, capturing the light and glowing as you move around them.

14. Talk to the Skies. Head to Park Square to become a part of ITHACA Studio’s mind-blowing sound and light installation. Choose red, green or blue, take up your position and start talking. You’ll see your voice converted into light and sound, which will then rocket across the ground and into the sky.

15. The Flying Violinist. Cirque Bijou are known for their jaw-dropping performances that fuse together circus and street theatre. They’re back at Trinity Leeds for Light Night to celebrate their 20th anniversary with an aerial spectacular that sees The Flying Violinist spin and dance above you in a colour-changing LED dress.

Light Night Voyage

‘Voyage’ by Aether and Hemera.

16. Pleasance. NOVAK are bringing their unique ground projections to the former Tetley’s Brewery site for Light Night. Featuring art by textile designer Hazel Dunn and soundscapes by composer Ed Carter, this 35-metre long projection will create a bold, colourful and immersive experience beneath your feet.

17. Brothers and Sisters. Ron Haselden has asked children from two Leeds primary schools to create a work of art that shows their relationship with their siblings and he’s transformed them into a large scale garland of LED lights at Queen Square.

18. Voyage. Head to Leeds Dock for an interactive floating boat installation by artists Aether & Hemera. You can enjoy a spectacular light show as over 100 illuminated origami boats float on the water. Even better, you can interact with them and control them using your smartphone.

Light Night Grid

‘GRID’ by Blauwe Urr.

19. GRID. This large scale sculpture of sound, colour, light, rhythm, steel and air at Tower Works is incredible. A computerised voice will guide you around the installation as you take in the unique sounds of the robot orchestra and become part of this illuminated moving machine.

20. Page 127. Part sculpture, part contemporary dance, this unique installation at Leeds Library is a must-see. Maria Popova is trapped in folds of paper, and as she moves, the space transforms to create something that’s both fixed and ever-changing.

21. Light Knights. Bringing the kids to Light Night 2019? You can see ancient warriors like never before at Royal Armouries. Handmade Parade have created a series of 12-foot high illuminated knights and they’re going to battle it out in the dark outside the National Museum of Arms and Armour.

Make the most of Light Night

Light Night 2019 is just around the corner, so it’s time to plan what you want to see. You can pick up a festival guide for £2 or download the new Light Night app when it’s released.

Cover image: 'Angels of Freedom' by OGE Group, Merav Eitan and Gaston Zahr.