Leeds Light night 2017 and Reality arcade

The most artsy night in a Leeds year.

One of the events happening during my time in Leeds, UK was the Leeds Light night. It is a huge annual visual arts and lights festival and I attended the 2017 edition with some of my classmates. It is apparently one of UK’s largest visual arts events, similar to the Vivid Sydney festival in Australia.

One of the large-scale light projections on the church during Light night.

Over the span of two nights the faces of several buildings were taken over by magnificent digital projections, full of dancing lights and captivating patterns. They either told a story or captured the imagination with their shifting geometries, accompanied by several interactive visual arts installations, music and street performances. Every corner of Leeds centre hid some kind of an artsy secret, culminating in a huge parade down the main road. From what I got to see through the crowd, the 2017 parade featured several spectacular giant puppets lit from within and plenty of dancers and performers with twirling LED lights, all following the insistent beat of the marching drums. Since we arrived a bit late we did not get to see the whole parade, but what we did catch was amazing.

Leeds Light night

There was also an incredibly realistic full moon installation down by the river, which momentarily lost power due to the sheer electricity overload that is Leeds Light night. I remember us and several Englishmen all excitedly waiting on the bridge for the Leeds moon to turn back on, as if it was suddenly the most important thing in the world. Let me tell you, that when it did, it was quite a sight to behold.

Besides the visual arts aspect, the Light night also featured several quirky installations and events, my favourite being the Reality arcade. Since most of us were 90s children, our eyes lit up upon seeing the whole Kirkstall market hall full of the 90s arcade games brought to life.

Reality arcade

There were the Space invaders, where you had to throw a starship-shaped ball into the aliens, the Frogger, where you had to walk past the obstacles with a plush frog balanced on your head, real life Tetris with giant soft blocks, Whack-a-mole and several others. Needless to say, we tried them all and I dare say we were more excited than the kids the Reality arcade was meant for.

Some photos by Kim Lagrama.

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