When we talk about Leeds Dock being a hub for the digital, media and creative community we don’t just mean business…
We’re very proud of the community of both global and independent businesses that are based and come together at the dock, and in the last few months alone our waterside village has also been home to some major arts, culture and entertainment events, proving that Leeds Dock is an exciting place to be – by day or night, for work and fun.
Some of our favourite moments of 2016 include the Leeds Waterfront Festival, the British Street Food Awards, the Leeds Digital Festival, the Lumen Prize 2015/16 tour, the Leeds 10K junior run, Code-X escape room, the Home Grown market and supporting our neighbours at Duke Studios with The Big Disco when the world’s largest disco glitter ball came to town.
Another major highlight was Leeds Dock’s involvement with Light Night Leeds – the city’s annual celebration of arts, culture and light – which saw us play host to our first major installation as part of the festival.
Following on from the success of the Lumen Prize tour we commissioned 2015 prize winners Squidsoup to create Light Water, Dark Sky – an immersive three-dimensional digital art installation that we installed on a floating pontoon in the centre of Leeds Dock.
Based on an original commission by Quays Culture, Light Water, Dark Sky was made of 6000 individually programmable lights that pulsate and change colour giving the impression of the movement of water to fit with this year’s Light Night Leeds theme of ‘The Elements’.
The installation was accompanied by music from Squidsoup’s long-time collaborator Four Tet and as participants stepped aboard the pontoon they received a pair of headphones to listen to the piece and fully immerse themselves in this light and sound experience.
Anthony Rowe of Squidsoup explains the basis of their approach and the work which led to the creation of Light Water, Dark Sky:
“My background is in digital media but I began to see the screen as a boundary between art and people that I wanted to move beyond. Our approach is essentially about breaking down the barriers, allowing people to get closer to what is going on – almost like getting inside the screen.
I see pieces like Light Water, Dark Sky as an ‘exploded screen’ or an interactive design that people can take part in through things like 3D glasses or, in this case, headphones, to really feel part of what is happening.
We aim to create environments that surround people and give them a multi-sensory experience and music plays a large part in that.
We’ve worked with Four Tet on both live performances and pre-recorded pieces, as in Light Water, Dark Sky, and each way of working presents its own set of challenges and advantages for us and the audience.
It’s about breaking down boundaries, blurring the lines and creating environments that each person experiences in their own individual way.”
Over 8000 people experienced Light Water, Dark Sky at Leeds Dock as part of Light Night Leeds 2016 and our friends at Sonder Studios created two films one showing the highlights of the installation, which has received over 12,000 views on Facebook, and the other showcasing the audience’s reactions.
Phil Dawson, commercial brand manager at Leeds Dock, promises there’s more in store when it comes to arts, culture and entertainment in the remainder of 2016 and beyond:
“We know that creating a digital, creative and media community needs to have many facets and we’re delighted that we have played host to so many exciting events here at Leeds Dock this year. Enterprise, experiences and entertainment are at the heart of everything we do and we look forward to welcoming many more people to become part of our community over the coming months.”