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Squidsoup at Town’s First Festival of Light

The town’s first free festival of light is set to transform the way Poole looks by casting a whole new light.
Light Up Poole, sponsored by Poole BID and funded by Arts Council England, runs from 15th to 17th February and presents a complimentary series of opportunities to see Poole as it has never been seen before, as the town centre becomes the backdrop for dramatic light art and digital installations after dark.

Among the headline pieces is a new version of the ‘Submergence’ installation created by Squidsoup. The piece has been seen all around the world and is created by an international collective of light artists, researchers, technologists and designers who create immersive digital and interactive media experiences. It is composed of thousands of individually controlled lights that interact with the audience as they explore.

Liam Birtles, digital artist at Squidsoup, explained the piece: “Its beauty belies its complexity. People see a beautiful glowing cube of points of light, they walk towards it, realise they can enter it and then look back out from inside it – they can’t help but see their immediate environment in a new light.

“Imagine it as fireworks or snowflakes – shapes and forms are recognisable but no two things are ever exactly the same. In fact, people find it a meditative and spiritual experience, they find it an emotional space. We’ve had marriage proposals inside it.”

This new work is set to a soundtrack of sounds found in the town and each moment will be a unique display generated by the audience interacting with the lights. Squidsoup developed bespoke software during creation.
A key element of the Light Up Poole festival is learning, and organisers have been working with local school students and young artists on a series of creative opportunities, including the Sounds of Poole album, vlog workshops and film poetry.

Liam’s daughter Seren will be showing a projection mapping light art project made as part of her A-Level art studies at The Blandford School, exploring bird behaviour and form, as well as our relationship to them.
On Dorset’s history of emerging media, Liam added: “Light Up Poole belongs in that tradition and as the town is one of the very few on the south coast that has an industrial landscape to respond to it is going to provide some really interesting perspectives.”