Lightwaves 2015: Let there be light

Emma Nuttall

Lightwaves, Quays Culture’s free festival of digital light at The Quays, is bigger and better than ever this year.

There is something undeniably alluring about light. From glowing objects to projections, florescence and lasers, light art doesn’t require a degree in art history to appreciate. From 12-27 December, Lightwaves 2015, organised by Quays Culture, will illuminate Salford’s Media City with a free digital light festival to mark UNESCO’s ‘International Year of Light’. The public spaces surrounding Salford Quay’s canals will play host to three major installations from international artists, which promise to take over the piazza with an immersive, interactive extravaganza.

This year’s festival follows on from the huge success of Squidsoup’s installation Aeolian Light in December last year. This time around, audiences can walk through Mads Christensen’s new piece The Cathedral of Mirrors, specially commissioned by Quays Culture and co-presented with the University of Salford. This giant sculpture is made up of 12 columns, which sit in silence, emitting an undulating glow and pulsing in response to the movements of passers-by, and so emitting more light energy the busier it gets.

A free digital light festival to mark UNESCO’s ‘International Year of Light’

Also on show will be Intrude, by Amanda Parer, an installation of five giant glowing bunnies designed to remind us about the delicate balance of nature on planet earth. The luminous rabbits will be a quirky presence at MediaCityUK during Lightwaves, dwarfing people on their way by.

Finally, Marcos Zotes presents Amaze, a towering psychedelic labyrinth for audiences to enter and get lost in. Abstract patterns and rich colours will be beamed onto the fabric walls, a kaleidoscopic surround for the maze’s twisting paths. Their swirling movement will transform the industrial installation into a visual feast through the winter nights.

The programme also includes an online performance entitled Ser Gina by artist and performer Elly Clarke, which explores our online, networked world and its effects on our sense of identity and our relationships. Familiarise yourself with the other talks, performances and workshops lined up on the official Lightwaves 2015 page on Quays Culture’s website.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Cinemas might be closed but independent venues and distributors need any help they can get. We look at some films you can stream and places to donate.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

The elves and the shoemaker. Two green puppets with a male and female actor either side of them.

Families

Need some inspiration for fun and creative family days out? Look no further than our top picks for families across Manchester and the north.

Carcanet exhibition: Carcanet poets Michael Schmidt and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Literature

News of books just out and books worth revisiting, even if you can’t get to the events yourself. Plus a fabulous new exhibition about independent publisher Carcanet, on for the next six months…

Music

Discover the best live music coming up in Manchester and the north this spring and, dare we say it, summer!

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Bringing opera, dance, fierce experimental performance and new writing, there’s much to enjoy in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.