I really, really like living in Liverpool. For a relatively small city there’s so much cultural activity going on that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. In May, though, you could do worse than starting with Light Night.
For those of you who don’t know, Light Night is an annual Friday where Liverpool’s museum, galleries and other interesting spaces open up for public engagement until late. There’s so many possibilities: you can see a familiar space in a different way, discover something new, watch something interesting. And the programme offered so many events that sounded so good. But I had a time limit, having been invited to a birthday party on the same evening. However, this was on Hope Street. And as there was a lot on around this area, that’s where I headed.
Did I see anything good?
Yes. Lights. I like light shows and immersive experiences, and plenty on this programme provided these. We started off at the Black-E with Carlos Bernal’s Afterglow, a light and sound show set in a suitably darkened room. Turns out we only saw the final 10 minutes of this before it had a break, but I could have watched this for much longer. In LJMU we came across OP POP Matrix, another immersive space which reminded me of something-60s-psychedelic. The room came with the added bonus of many buttons, which apparently affected what the lights did. After trying a few I did find some buttons which definitely did something, which was fun. There was another light show at the Everyman with Logan & Wilcox’s Neu Collective Consciousness.
The idea behind this fascinated me: they were going to use biometric data to influence the light show. The show itself was beautiful, but unfortunately came with added queues. As I didn’t want to be so late to the party as to be rude, I never got to find out more about how it worked.
Did I discover something new?
Yes. Walking between Hardman Street and Mount Pleasant we discovered Zap Graffiti Artists studio on Oldham Place. I had never known this was there but if you are into street art and surrounding culture, this would be a great place to check out. Later in the evening they were going to be creating graffiti art along the street which I would like to have seen, but as they were using UV paint they were waiting until it was dark, which was still quite a while. Next time I’m in Liverpool I will be stopping by to see what they created.
Did I learn anything?
Loads. Although I was initially interested in Light Night’s artistic programme, I was intrigued to read that LJMU were having open sessions from their marine biology and astrophysics department. I love the oceans, my boyfriend loves space, so this was a must-see. Everyone was very friendly and willing to discuss their specialist fields as well as answer more general questions.
Moving across to the Alham Robarts Library things got more technical, but also more artistic. Using a 3D pen was fun but much harder than I anticipated – I didn’t feel the need to photograph my ‘house’ for posterity. A more skilled artist than me would be able to have some fun with this, though. I was also interested in the Face Lab technologies. This is the department which can reconstruct the faces of people who died thousands of years ago. I’ve never understood how this could be anymore than just guesswork – until last night. Turns out they can tell a lot from a skull but when it comes to details some of it is just guesswork – and an artistic eye. Turning facts into something relatable and beautiful in its own way.
So, that was my experience of Light Night. If you went, yours will have been completely different. I know I’ve gone a bit off-track from the aim of promoting art, but I felt that to not discuss all the other things on offer would have been a disservice. After all it’s not every day you get to see art, learn about astrophysics and discover forensics all in one evening? I can only applaud Open Culture for organising such a diverse range of experiences and I’m looking forward to 2017 already.