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The magic of Light Nights in Dundee

Art installation ‘Colony’ on Slessor Gardens with  Dundee student Lauren Dewar.
Art installation ‘Colony’ on Slessor Gardens with Dundee student Lauren Dewar.

Light Nights is the finale event for Festival of Architecture 2016 and the beginning of Dundee’s Christmas celebrations.

Following a theme of past, present and future,the city’s historic and contemporary architectural spaces will become the focus for light installations, a torchlight procession, an architectural walking trail, art and design exhibitions and a night market.

Over two nights – starting tonight – colourful lighting will highlight the intricate construction detail of Kengo Kuma’s V&A Dundee building creating a beacon of light on the banks of the River Tay.

And The Steeple, dating back to the 15th century, will stage Biome Collective’s newly commissioned interactive sonic light show, inviting people to make music with a building!

Meanwhile, eight otherworldlly blue spheres – a group of tactile sonic sculptures – will take up residence on Castle Street.

Get up close to the otherworldly spheres during Light Nights.
Get up close to the otherworldly spheres during Light Nights.

Passers-by will hear sounds emanate from inside the large spherical forms and resonate upon their surface in a soundscape you can hear, feel and touch.

Created by Artists Alison Ballard and Mike Blow, the spheres will direct visitors to Slessor Gardens, the setting for a festive-themed night market, selling food, drink and crafts.

Prospect North, an exhibition presented at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, opens at West Ward Works on November 19 and showcases everything from an augmented reality trip around Scotland to architectural crazy golf.

The Howff, a 16th century graveyard, will show Kathy Hinde’s musical flock of Luminous Birds.

Visitors are invited to join a torchlight procession connecting McManus Galleries and the Caird Hall, ahead of the Christmas lights switch-on in City Square.

One of the exhibits at Prospect North.
One of the exhibits at Prospect North.

A host of indoor events are also taking place, including a nativity play at Steeple Churches, choir singing at St Paul’s Cathedral and BBC’s Build It Scotland exhibition at the McManus.

And there’s also the Big Winter Warm Up event in City Square.

Sound designer Tom de Majo and games designer Malath Abbas of Biome Collective produced “Playable Architecture”, which they describe as a “playful physical, digital interaction between people and architecture focusing on one of the city’s oldest architectural landmarks.”

Tom said: “There’ll be speakers in The Steeple bell tower and projections on all the walls. People will be able to hit big buttons which trigger animations and music. It’s effectively making music with a building.

“We want people to engage with architecture and be playful. We’re using The Steeple as a beacon, drawing people towards it, celebrating it, using sound and light. It’s beautiful, melodic and intriguing.”

Tom Di Majo and Malath Abbas of Biome Collective outside the Steeple Church.
Tom Di Majo and Malath Abbas of Biome Collective outside the Steeple Church.

Will Dawson, convener for Dundee, One City, Many Discoveries, said: “Dundee is delighted to be hosting the Festival of Architecture 2016 finale.

“As the Waterfront development progresses it’s an ideal time to consider the city in terms of its architectural past, present and future.

“Light Nights is shaping up to be a fantastic event with a wide variety of free events.

“The combination of light shows, street entertainment, fireworks, late night shopping and free city-centre parking is set to attract thousands of visitors to the city.”

Tom Di Majo and Malath Abbas are exciting about lighting up Dundee.
Tom Di Majo and Malath Abbas are exciting about lighting up Dundee.

info

Light Nights Dundee runs from today, November 18, from 4pm to 10pm and is free to attend. Projections continue to November 19. www.dundee.com

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