Taking place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 12th December, Lightwaves will illuminate Salford Quays with its most ambitious line-up to date.

ILLUMAPHONIUM - Michael and Gemma Davis

Presented across Media City and Salford Quays, Lightwaves attracts thousands of visitors across the free 10 day festival, to explore a trail of illuminated installations that animate and transform the surroundings. Expected to bring in its largest ever audience, Quays Culture announce this year’s exceptional line-up.

With a focus on bold new commissions, Lightwaves supports international artists alongside local and emerging talent. This year’s spectacular commissions come with messages of protecting the planet and building a sustainable future.

Lightwaves 2021 will see the arrival of the epic FLOATING EARTH, by Luke Jerram. The centre piece of the festival, this awe-inspiring artwork lets visitors see our planet floating on the surface of the water in three dimension. Measuring 10 metres in diameter and created from 1200dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, Luke Jerram has created this brand-new work to give visitors a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. Floating Earth will undoubtedly be taking over Instagram feeds across the start of December, as people set out to view the incredible spectacle.

Situated in Mariner’s Canal, SIRENS by Davy and Kristin McGuire is a beautiful but haunting display of water-based projections, featuring life-like mermaids and sea creatures as they encounter the devastating effects of plastic pollution and climate change.

Celebrating a UK premiere in partnership with Submerge, CYGNUS by LOOMALAND is a mesmerising water ballet that features twelve synchronised, glowing robot swans. The magical birds are illuminated from the inside, gliding on the surface like ghosts and changing colours to the rhythm of the music that is coming from within their bodies. The work will be accompanied by a newly commissioned soundtrack ‘Swan Songs’ by Anil Sebastian, commissioned by Submerge earlier this year. Submerge seek to create opportunities for marginalised artists and to ensure that these voices are amplified within creative tech arts and music projects.

Taking influence from the Manchester bee, HIVE MINDS is an interactive arch of light created by Backstage Academy students - working alongside multimedia artist Aphra Shemza. This powerful artwork is centred around themes of unity and sustainability. The 3D printed sculpture is sustainably sourced, and the materials will be reused and recycled. The aim of the piece is to reflect on what humans can achieve when they come together as a hive in the face of the climate crisis.

Bringing people together into a fun and spontaneous music making experience, ILLUMAPHONIUM by Michael & Gemma Davis will delight visitors of all ages . The mesmerising piece is made up of more than 150 hand tuned and illuminated chime bars, each of which respond to touch with ever changing patterns of light and sound, spreading out like waves over the giant instruments surface.

A truly memorable experiential artwork, MYSTERY BIRD has been developed as a static installation especially for Lightwaves 2021. A collaboration of five unique artists: extraordinary paper artist Helen Musselwhite, incredible vocal beat-box artist Jason Singh, the brilliant projection team Illuminos, excellent local designers and fabricators M3 Industries and digital AR expert Jack Hardiker.

MOTHS AT WORK by Pif-Paf makes a special appearance for the launch weekend with a joyful and highly mobile Physical Street Theatre interaction. Ray and Flash, two brave Disco Moth Electricians are sent down from the Moon in the Sky to collect moments of fun, pride and silliness to beam back home.

Nestled in MediaCity gardens will be a small meadow of oversized robotic flowers entitled DIGITAL PLAYGROUND, by Studio Little Lost Robot. As visitors move around the sculpture the flowers’ appearance subtly changes according to movements made. This oasis aims to passively remind spectators all to take it slowly and breathe.

A permanent artwork at Media City, THROUGH No.4 by Liz West consists of a six-metre long triangular corridor of light and colour. The walk-through structure encourages visitors to look at their surroundings in a different light. This will be amplified and exaggerated during Lightwaves through the use of elegant artificial lighting, turning the multicoloured artwork into a ‘jewel’ in the dark.

Amongst the collection, animating the iconic waterways at Salford Quays is YOUTH CULTURE, by Stanza, a sculpture which challenges our assumptions about social alienation. ENTWINED LIGHT by Antoniya Soitsova & Nicolo Bencini tells the story of the ever-evolving relationship between the artificial and the natural, through the transitional interplay of form and light. Variations in colour and illumination invite the visitors to take part in the story and revisit the installation at different stages throughout the cycle.

Immersive laser projection, LASERTONIC by Flora Litchfield utilises sound and colour to transform its surroundings into a meditative environment. The colourful, undulating laser light dances in time with the surround sound, creating a serene environment to engage the subconscious mind and imagination.

Lightwaves is free for visitors to attend and aims to bring light and positivity to the cold, dark evenings. Open to everyone, the artworks are fun, interactive and not only inspiring to look at, but thought provoking too. There are no tickets required to attend Lightwaves, visitors can simply turn up and walk the festival at their own leisure. This year Quays Culture will launch a free mobile app to help visitors navigate their way around the route.

Lightwaves launches on Friday 3rd December alongside festive makers markets at Quayside. 

Find out more by visiting: www.quaysculture.com