FloodLights, 2021. Absolutely Cultured © Tom Stevens 

Absolutely Cultured to present brand new projections and soundscapes in Hull city centre this Autumn

This Autumn, Absolutely Cultured presents FloodLights, a newly-commissioned public project featuring captivating projections and soundscapes, brand new for Hull in 2021.

The city of Hull, and the lives of its inhabitants, has been shaped by its proximity and relationship to water. Absolutely Cultured, working in partnership with Living With Water, Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull, will be exploring these issues – now even more pertinent than ever – through projection and light installations.

The artists involved have all drawn inspiration from the subject of “living with water”. Over 22-24 October, 6:30-9:30pm, they will be bringing the city centre to life with moving animations, light installations and atmospheric music. 

CEO and Artistic Director of Absolutely Cultured Stephen Munn said:FloodLights was originally planned for 2020, so it’s been incredibly exciting to be able to get back to preparing this with our partners and the artists involved. Artists have always used creativity to explore important themes and it’s a vital role of the arts to spark meaningful conversations in peoples’ lives. In this instance, considering how cities like Hull can increase resilience, awareness and be better prepared when living so close to water.”

Following a series of photogrammetry sessions at Humber Street Gallery and sites around Hull, Limbic Cinema have digitally captured meaningful objects that residents would hate to lose in a flood. These 3D models have shaped Limbic Cinema‘s evocative indoor installation Sinuous City, which features contributions by local poet Vicky Foster and composer Joe Acheson (Hidden Orchestra) and takes place at 51 Whitefriargate. This piece will also be open to experience in the day over the event weekend, from 11am on 23 and 24 October. Open to visitors in 30 minute time slots, audiences will be invited to book free tickets to guarantee entry at their preferred time. Tickets will go live on 30 September.

Hull-based artists Davy & Kristin McGuire bring Sirens, an underwater world of mermaids and sea creatures, to life at Princes Quay in a beautiful but haunting display of holographic projections into the water. As global warming impacts their habitats, mermaids have been forced to migrate to better feeding grounds in urban environments in order to survive.

Inspired by the unique architectural design and rich nautical school history of the Trinity House Academy, Overflow by Vent Media uses the connected rectangular white minimal façades of the building to create a huge three-dimensional canvas. Working together with electronic musician and sound artist Leigh Toro, Overflow takes audiences through a journey of the deep, via bioluminescent lifeforms, lost treasure, and the ringing of the school’s famous ships bell.

To prepare for this public project, Absolutely Cultured worked with students and researchers from the University of Hull to unpack the theme of water. Participants took part in creative workshops that covered a variety of topics, such as water as material and in memory, impacts of water on pollution and climate change, and water in symbolism, myth and superstition.

Briony McDonagh, Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull and Lead for the Risky Cities project said, “Engaging diverse communities in climate resilience action is a significant challenge, with the most vulnerable in societies often the least well informed.  The University of Hull’s Risky Cities project brings together arts and humanities researchers with environmental and physical scientists and flood modellers to bring innovative culture-based approaches to address the challenge of engaging diverse communities in building flood resilience.  We are excited to see Floodlights, our first large-scale production, come to fruition.”

Expanding on those themes, Absolutely Cultured will be hosting a panel discussion as part of Marketing Humber’s Waterline Summit series of events – exploring the role of arts and culture in addressing the issues that face wider society. Taking place on 21 October and chaired by Absolutely Cultured’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director Stephen Munn, it will feature panelists including Lee Pitcher, Head of Partnerships at Yorkshire Water and General Manager of the Living with Water Partnership; Briony McDonagh, Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull and Lead for the Risky Cities project; Dr Mark Fletcher, Global Water Leader at ARUP; and Tom Newell & Thomas Buttery from Limbic Cinema. Tickets can be booked here.

The discussion will be made available to view online as part of a supporting digital programme for FloodLights, that will also feature related resources and more content from the artists involved in the event.

Working with local residents in the Gipsyville area, Absolutely Cultured are also approaching these ideas in weekly creative sessionsFamilies and young people are being encouraged to think about these topics while preparing for an upcoming parade around their neighbourhood on the opening night of FloodLights.

More information about FloodLights and the work of Absolutely Cultured can be found here.

The work of Absolutely Cultured would not happen without the generous support of funding partners, particularly Arts Council England and Hull City Council, and FloodLights has been made possible with the support of Living With Water, Yorkshire Water, the University of Hull, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Rollits and Wykeland.