Eurovision afterglow lights up Liverpool

Eurovision magic will be sprinkled across this year’s River of Light with installations dedicated to reliving those unforgettable two weeks in May.

Globally acclaimed designer Julio Himede – the man responsible for the Eurovison 2023 stage design – has joined the artist line-up with a world premiere artwork, along with Ukrainian creatives Tais Poda and RocknLight who will also be bringing world-first projections to the festival.

From Friday 27 October to Sunday 5 November, the free outdoor art gallery will illuminate the city centre from 5pm to 9pm, with this year’s theme ‘United By Light’ paying homage to the United By Music strapline – used when Liverpool hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine in May 2023.

Three of the twelve installations will have a nod to the famous song contest.

Four installations have already been announced as part of the 2km walking trail, which includes a mix of brand new, never-before-seen commissions as well as artworks that have not been displayed in the city before.

The final installations to be announced are:

United By Music – New York based design firm Yellow Studio – founded by Julio Himede – will bring its 10-metre round, multi-purpose performance space to River of Light for its debut, paying tribute to the music of Eurovision 2023 and promising a one-of-a-kind experience for all who attend. With a soundtrack including six songs from this year’s competition, it’s set to be a huge hit with visitors.

Ukrainian Dreams –  This brand new commission will see the vivid and wildly imaginative works of one of Ukraine’s best-loved artists Tais Poda and RocknLight brought to life in an audio-visual spectacle. It will express the hope and pride of Ukraine through the wonderful work of Maria Prymacenko. Composer Dmytro Saratskyi has provided an original Ukrainian folk score to accompany the piece. This artwork has been co-produced with Festival.org and part funded by Arts Council England and Royal Albert Dock Liverpool.

Our Beating Heart – Art and design collective Studio Vertigo are bringing back ‘Our Beating Heart’ which glistened at Liverpool Town Hall during Eurovision. The heart shaped mirror ball will be returning with a spectacular dancing light show for the beautiful shimmering sight.

NOVA – Another Studio Vertigo piece, NOVA is based around a transient astronomical event which causes a star to quickly increase the strength of light it emits. Visitors will feel like they’re experiencing a ‘new’ star – mighty and dazzling.

Night Whisper – Sydney based art studio Amigo & Amigo are back for River of Light with European premiere, Night Whisper – a piece inspired by the dynamic movement of moths around light. Featuring a giant luminescent light bulb with multiple moths suspended in the light.

GLOW – This world premiere is the second installation by Amigo & Amigo and features a giant interactive light installation inspired by the cycles of the moon, with over 40 different sounds and animations, the audience is invited to move and play throughout.

Florescentia – From the Latin word for ‘blossoming’, Florescentia is inspired by the phenomenal natural transformations found in the biology of plant life and is created by Australian artists Atelier Sisu. The piece incorporates movement, light and a soundscape illustrating the blend of the mechanical and the natural composed by Miles Nicholas.

Labyrinth – This modular colourful Art-chitecture and temporary playground is driven by an exploration of the golden ratio and its connection to the Fibonacci sequence, once again created by Atelier Sisu. Each module of Labyrinth is positioned to create a unique colourful and immersive experience for audiences. 

These installations join Emergence, Lampshades Bouquet, Elysian and Elysian Arcs which were announced last month.

For River of Light 2023, a creative engagement programme of workshops will take place across the city with schools and universities. This will run alongside the festival in partnership with the artists involved. Details will be announced online soon.

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River of Light will be delivered by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team and part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as the lead authority.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said, “River of Light gets better year on year – and the 2023 instalment is no exception.

“Five months on, and the success of Eurovision is still a huge talking point so I’m delighted that we have commissioned some incredible artworks which pay tribute to those fantastic, surreal two weeks in May.  To be able to showcase a unique piece from the Eurovision stage designers themselves is a huge coup, and it’s also great to see a tangible legacy of staging that global event as we continue to proudly work with Ukrainian artists to share and appreciate their culture.

“So, if anyone wants to enjoy high quality, fun, family-friendly, thought-provoking and engaging art with selfie opportunities galore and is totally free – Liverpool is the place to be this autumn!”

Julio Himede, Founder of Yellow Studio, and responsible for the United By Music installation, said, It is an honor to be back in Liverpool, participating in River of Light. Our monument is a tribute to the cultural phenomenon of Eurovision and an homage to the warm community of Liverpool. The shows global message of unity, expression, and diversity is celebrated through bold monochromatic tones and the playful animation of light.”

Ukrainian Dreams artist Tais Poda said, “The art of Maria Prymachenko is distinctively Ukrainian. She transformed her experiences of rural life into a fantastic fairy tale, filled with mythology and symbols which resonate strongly for contemporary Ukrainians and speak of what is happening in Ukraine today. I’m honoured that Culture Liverpool has commissioned me to create this new digital work, taking inspiration from Maria’s stunning paintings to reflect on current realities in Ukraine and share with UK audiences our country’s rich cultural heritage.”

Sean Morrison, estate manager at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, said, ‘We’re delighted to have River of Light returning to our beautiful waterfront for another year, welcoming two installations to the dock: Ukrainian Dreams and Emergence. The awe-inspiring pieces are set to illuminate the Martin Luther King Jr. Building and the inner quay, making them a must-see for our visitors spending their evening dockside.” 

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