Oh The Night! - imitating the dog. Urban Legends: Northern Lights, Absolutely Cultured © Tom Arran

Urban Legends: Northern Lights

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

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

Taking inspiration from ancient mythology, fairy tales and oral history, the buildings, pavements, shop windows and winding alleys of Hull city centre were the pages on which stories were told.

From large and impressive to intimate and moving, the city was at its dazzling winter best as the event brought together artists from the UK and Scandinavia.

Lead artists included Dodda Maggý, Heinrich and Palmer, imitating the dog, NOVAK, Studio McGuire and Zsolt Balogh’s New Visual Paradigm, with contributions from other collaborators. Many of these artists were already familiar with the city, with previous work celebrated in Hull during its year as the UK City of Culture 2017.


In Oh The Night! imitating the dog explored the ritual of bedtime stories. But what happens to the characters once children have gone to sleep? Featured an original soundtrack by Finnish Composer Lau Nau and a community choir from Hull.

Inspired by the story of Skidbladnir, a magical shape-shifting ship, Heinrich and Palmer’s Ship of the Gods combined film, 3D laser scanning technology, sound and lighting effects to create an ethereal and otherworldly experience. Ship Of The Gods was seen in Hull Minster Thursday to Saturday, but moves outside to Trinity Square on Sunday night.

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales are the impetus for Still Lives by Studio McGuire. Recently relocated to Hull, the McGuires will drew on their beautifully stylish aesthetic to create a series of theatrical and captivating shop window displays, with a twist. If you missed this during Urban Legends: Northern Lights, or want another slice of magic, head to Whitefriargate to see Still Lives by Studio McGuire, which will continue until January 6 2019, every day from 4pm.

Working with Ben Haggarty, expert storyteller and leading figure in the European storytelling revival, Zsolt Balogh’s New Visual Paradigm returned to Hull with Lost Paradise. In Queens Gardens, the audience gathered 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 created an installation which played out beneath the audience’s feet. The piece explored 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 that were 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 drew on a series of ancient legends and stories of monsters from the deep and was 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.

This event was free and unticketed.

Past events