The Bristol Light Festival and BBC Studios Natural History Unit collaboration will bring festival goers up close and personal with some of the planet’s most majestic animals, which will escape our televisions into the streets of Bristol.
Bristol has been home to the BBC’s Studios Natural History Unit (NHU) since 1957, and the institution is a pivotal part of the city’s modern history. WildLight uses archived clips from iconic BBC Studios wildlife shows, cut in a new and novel way to transform them into incredible light projections, allowing a live audience to truly immerse itself in nature through the medium of light. Animals from the footage will be projected at real life scale, adding a playful sense of realism.
WildLight explores how we see the world, following the passage of light across the globe, and the curious bioluminescence – light made by creatures such as fireflies, which pierces the darkness of the night and the deep ocean. The art reflects over 60 years of BBC Studios NHU making wildlife films and working with light to capture images of incredible wildlife around the globe.
Left Handed Giant will be transformed into a giant TV set, with animals then escaping the screen to the area around; visitors will be delighted by dolphins leaping out of the river Avon, Penguins peeking around corners, meerkats playing on the wall of Boca Bar, and monkeys hanging around too. The piece will feature footage captured from well-loved TV series such as Frozen Planet II, Blue Planet II and Seven Worlds, One Planet, viewed by more than a billion people globally.
The installation has been created as the result of a collaboration between Bristol Light Festival’s Creative Director Katherine Jewkes, BBC Studios Series Producer Tuppence Stone and editor Ryan Patterson and Joe Cusack of Stage Sound Services*. WildLight will be projected onto and around Left Handed Giant, where visitors can also pop in to try the brewery’s official festival beer Vivid Beams.
Katherine Jewkes, Creative Director at Bristol Light Festival, said:
“To present something so mesmerising as part of this year’s festival feels very special. BBC Studios is the home of spectacular wildlife footage and it is something that most of us will have grown up watching in our living rooms, so for it to be brought to life outdoors in such a playful way in Bristol is a really exciting moment for us.”
Tuppence Stone, Series Producer and Director, BBC Studios Natural History Unit, said:
“For Bristol Light Festival, we want to showcase wildlife in a new way. Who doesn’t want to see a huge humpback whale jumping, or the brilliance of fireflies dancing across a building? BBC Studios NHU is proud to be Bristolian and it’s time to let the animals out of the TV.”
Joe Cusack, Senior Account Manager at Stage Sound Services, said:
“Being able to bring footage to life has been incredible. The end result is spectacular, and we can’t wait to see people’s faces as they get up close and interact with the animal projections in a truly new and unexpected way.”
Jonny Keeling, Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, said:
“At the Natural History Unit we use light to film images of extraordinary wildlife from across the Planet. We are now proud to be part of the Bristol Light Festival and share a bespoke installation of that wildlife for our home city.”
Steve Bluff, Head of Redcliffe & Temple BID, said:
“As a partner of Bristol Light Festival, we can’t wait to see people’s reactions to WildLight as they walk across Castle Bridge. BBC Studios NHU is such an important part of Redcliffe & Temple’s business community, so it’s brilliant to bring this beautiful work of art to the city centre so people can experience firsthand the amazing work they do.”
Bristol Light Festival is a free event running from the 2nd-11th February 2024. Installations will be lit every evening from 5pm-10pm. The festival will see the return of 2023’s hit Swing Song. A Bristol church will be transformed by the world premiere of Ascendance from celebrated duo Studio McGuire. This is Loop and Atelier Sisu will both be doubling the dazzle with two installations each, and Alison Smith is combining art and biology in her piece The Nectary. For more information about the event and all of the so far-announced 2024’s installations, head to https://bristollightfestival.org/.
Director – Tuppence Stone, BBC Studios
Editor – Ryan Patterson, BBC Studios
Researcher – Gini Close, BBC Studios
BBC archive from BBC Studios Natural History Unit, for BBC
Music – Hans Zimmer, Jacob Shea and David Fleming for Bleeding Fingers
Sound Design – Wounded Buffalo
Projection & Video Design – Joe Cusack & Simon Moore, Stage Sound Services
Concept Design – Katherine Jewkes, Bristol Light Festival & Tuppence Stone, BBC
With thanks to: