Simon Wainwright, imitating the dog

Illuminating dark winter nights with Urban Legends: Northern Lights


EVENT DATES: 29 November – 2 December, 5pm – 10pm
LOCATION: Hull city centre, free

This winter, Absolutely Cultured presents Urban Legends: Northern Lights, a newly commissioned outdoor event featuring captivating projections and atmospheric soundscapes, brand new for Hull in 2018.

Drawing inspiration from the connections between Hull and the countries across the North Sea in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, Urban Legends: Northern Lights will spark conversations about the common stories shared between these places.

Inspired by ancient mythology, fairy tales and oral history, the buildings, pavements, shop windows and winding alleys of Hull city centre will be the pages on which stories are told.

From large and impressive to intimate and moving, the city will be at its dazzling winter best as the event brings together artists from the UK and Scandinavia. Lead artists include Dodda Maggý, Heinrich and Palmer, imitating the dog, NOVAK, Studio McGuire and Zsolt Balogh’s New Visual Paradigm, with contributions from other collaborators.

Creative Director and CEO of Absolutely Cultured, Katy Fuller, said: “These leading national and international artists are doing really exciting, genuinely creative, interesting work between projection and public realm, exploring new possibilities, using new techniques, but underpinning it all with really beguiling stories.

“We know what resonated with people in 2017 – events that saw the city come alive, with people sharing a story played out on the city’s buildings and in public squares. Many of these artists commissioned for this new event are familiar with the city, with previous work celebrated in Hull during its year as the UK City of Culture 2017, including the artists behind Made in Hull’s widely acclaimed We Are Hull, Land of Green Ginger’s Micropolis, and Floe and Arrivals and Departures.

“As Absolutely Cultured, we set out to deliver an ambitious and imaginative programme of events. Urban Legends: Northern Lights will be our most ambitious yet and will appeal to the huge audience we know we have in Hull, as well as being relevant and interesting to visitors and those watching from afar.”

Experience the ultimate bedtime story in Oh The Night! as imitating the dog explore the ritual of bedtime stories. But what happens to the characters once children have gone to sleep? Featuring an original soundtrack by Finnish Composer Lau Nau and a community choir from Hull.

Inspired by the story of Skidblandnir, a magical shape-shifting ship, Heinrich and Palmer’s Ship of the Gods will combine film, 3D laser scanning technology, sound and lighting effects to create an ethereal and otherworldly experience.

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales are the impetus for Still Lives by Studio McGuire. Recently relocated to Hull, the McGuires will draw on their beautifully stylish aesthetic to create a series of theatrical and captivating shop window displays, with a twist.

Working with Ben Haggarty, expert storyteller and leading figure in the European storytelling revival, Zsolt Balogh’s New Visual Paradigm returns to Hull with Lost Paradise.  In Queens Gardens, the audience can gather round an encampment to hear the fireside stories of where our shared Northern culture began, back before the time of the Vikings, when the North Sea was dry land.

In Avenue, Newcastle-based Novak will create an installation which will play out beneath the audience’s feet. The piece will explore the iconic textile designs of the 20th century from Hull and Västra Götaland in Sweden and the stories and references woven and printed into the designs.

Through Absolutely Cultured’s collaboration with Curated Place, producers of Hull 2017’s North Atlantic Flux Festival, Icelandic artist and composer Dodda Maggý has spent time in residency in Hull, exploring the stories to be realised through her piece Alda (meaning ‘wave’ in Old Norse). Working with the University of Hull to create a new music and light installation work, performed by a new ensemble, the installation will draw on a series of ancient legends and stories of monsters from the deep and will be projected onto one of Hull’s iconic buildings.

The work of Absolutely Cultured would not happen without the generous support of funding partners, particularly Arts Council England and Hull City Council. Urban Legends: Northern Lights has been made possible with the support of our corporate partners including Wykeland, Rollits and BP.