In less than a month, Bristol Light Festival will illuminate the city centre with stunning, interactive, and captivating light installations, creating a trail through the centre of Bristol from 3rd – 12th February. A further seven incredible installations have been revealed for this year’s event, featuring internationally renowned artists and some of the South West’s leading talent.
Bringing light, fun and colour to the city centre to brighten up the winter evenings, visitors can explore the light installations as they come to life from 5 – 10pm, enjoying the city’s food, drink and hospitality offerings along the way.
With a total of eleven installations now confirmed for the event, most of which have never been seen in Bristol and some brand-new commissions, this year’s festival will have something for everyone, the perfect winter pick-me-up that is sure to delight.
‘Scream the House Down: Bristol’ by Marcus Lyall
This interactive installation has both scale and wonder and has been created by internationally renowned artist Marcus Lyall. Marcus is known for experimental film and interactive moving-image projects, including award-winning stage visuals for The Chemical Brothers, a Metallica feature film, and artworks that have been shown around the world. His involvement with Bristol Light Festival establishes the event as one not to be missed in 2023.
Created during lockdown, this large-scale light installation is activated by people’s voices to illuminate a whole building according to the sound. Taking centre stage at The Corn Exchange, this piece will offer the chance for visitors to the festival to light up a building in a sea of colour as this monumental light installation illuminates in response to their voice. The louder and longer the outburst, the bigger the response from the building. The light installation interprets every voice and scream differently, to create a unique response for each person.
‘Sirens’ by Davy & Kristin McGuire, Studio McGuire
‘Sirens’ is a stunning holographic projection that will transform the harbourside into a mythical underwater world inhabited by supernatural sea creatures and mysterious mermaids.
Created to signify the impact of climate change, ‘Sirens’ suggests how even fairy-tale creatures could be affected by the climate crisis, as mermaids travel closer inland in an attempt to survive. These unexpected visitors to Bristol’s floating harbour will be swimming through the water and interacting with sea creatures in this stunning piece.
Davy and Kristin McGuire are residents of Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio, located on Bristol’s harbourside. Having been residents for many years, it will be special to showcase ‘Sirens’ so close to their creative hub.
‘Continuum’ by illumaphonium
‘Continuum’ is a fun, captivating installation that invites visitors to walk between 25 mirrored monoliths, exploring a maze of reflection and light. This interactive piece will capture the imagination of all ages as they walk around, through and amongst the mirrored pillars with family and friends. It will be located at the historic Temple Church which has been under renovations and closed to the public for many years, brining an exciting new location for this year’s festival.
illumaphonium is a duo of artists based in the South West that specialise in large scale interactive installations transforming public spaces into a place for music and discovery. Continuum is guaranteed to capture the imagination of all ages.
‘Trumpet Flowers’ by Amigo and Amigo
Feel like you are shrinking as you approach these super-sized trumpet flowers and tentatively step inside some unseen Giant’s musical garden, becoming surrounded by an explosive and immersive jungle of light, colour and sound. Moving in and around the flower forest, interactive keys allow visitors to play each flower as a 2-6m towering musical and light instrument.
Located at Quakers Friars in Cabot Circus, ‘Trumpet Flowers’ will surprise and delight as visitors make a spectacular floral symphony of sound and light or catch one of the scheduled animated musical scores throughout the evening. Inspired by vintage gramophones, the installation will periodically burst to life and play its own commissioned musical score.
Created by Sydney based design studio Amigo and Amigo and with a piece composed and played by Otis Studio together with some of Sydney’s finest jazz musicians, visitors will experience a beautiful and colourful wave of floral jazz.
‘Beam’ by PYTCH
A new artwork will be designed by Bristol-based creatives PYTCH and feature at Castle Bridge. ‘Beam’ uses lasers and haze to create a beautiful, ever-changing light sculpture that offers different viewing dimensions.
Visitors can become fully immersed as they cross the bridge, enveloped in haze whilst looking up at the lasers crossing in the air above as ambient music forms part of the experience. It can also be viewed from afar to enjoy Redcliffe and Temple harbourside illuminated and the impressive lasers meeting and crossing in the air above the bridge.
Overheard in Bristol
Previous commissions of iconic Bristolian phrases will form part of this year’s content with ‘Alright my Luvver’ in Queen Square and ‘Cheers Drive’ which is permanently installed in Bristol Bus and Coach Station. Each installation makes the perfect selfie spot for any true Bristolian.
Find your way around Bristol Light Festival
Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead for their visit to Bristol Light Festival, considering sustainable travel arrangements as well as places they may like to eat, drink or stay in the city. Visit Bristol offers inspiration and information to help plan an overnight trip into the city, with exclusive hotel offers available to Bristol Light Festival visitors. Plan your journey using our travel guide which includes special offers on rail and bus travel.
Bristol Light Festival is working with Guide.AI to create a free audio guide that visitors can use by downloading the Guide.AI app. The audio guide is easy to use and will be available in twelve languages including English, Mandarin, Spanish, German, French, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Japanese Polish, Hindi and Portuguese. Users will see a map showing the locations of all the art installations and can then be used to get directions to the chosen art installation. Once at an installation the user can choose to either read or listen to the information.
Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID, said;
“We want to bring a sense of fun, togetherness, and joy to the city across the final winter month, Bristol Light Festival will literally brighten up the city centre and encourage visitors to explore Bristol at night, enjoying the centre’s rich selection of businesses along the way. “We are thrilled to have such a fantastic line up of content and bolster Bristol’s creative reputation with a winter event that will help the city to have a positive start to the new year. The event embodies everything that Bristol represents and showcases it as the vibrant, playful and creative city that we know and love.”
Steve Bluff, Head of Redcliffe & Temple BID commented;
“Bristol Light Festival has become an integral part of our city’s event calendar and we are proud to support the 2023 edition. Being part of the event year on year attracts people to Redcliffe and Temple to enjoy the area as well as enhancing the space for the many people that live and work in our growing community. “This year we have three stunning artworks, ‘Continuum’ in historic Temple Church in Temple Gardens and the first indoor installation ‘Ophelia’ in the beautiful St Mary Redcliffe Church. The key walkway to our area, Castle Bridge, will feature ‘Beam’, a fantastic immersive experience for everyone to enjoy.”
Lisa Jones, General Manager at Cabot Circus said;
“We are very excited to be involved with this year’s Bristol Light Festival by once again hosting a beautiful installation. We can’t wait to see ‘Trumpet Flowers’ come to life in Quakers Friars and look forward to welcoming visitors to Cabot Circus as part of this city-wide event in February.”
Bristol Light Festival is presented by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) supported by Redcliffe & Temple BID, Broadmead BID and Cabot Circus. The festival is also supported by Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England’s Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project, with the aim of supporting the recovery of Bristol’s priority high streets. The festival is curated by creative director Katherine Jewkes.