By Fay Ryan, Digital Content Manager

25 May 2017 - 15:27

Image of a circuit with fruit
Tanti ran a workshop with young people, one part involved using circuits to make music out of fruit!

LightNight is a one night event where Liverpool arts and culture venues open their doors for free to the people of the city to come and explore art, dance, drama, music and more.

Five Indonesian artists are currently half way through a six-week residency at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) as part of the UK/Indonesia 2016-18 festival season, and they exhibited their works in progress during LightNight.

The artists' work explored the relationship between art and technology, and the theme was 'Water Connections'. This is what I discovered at LightNight:

1. Indonesia and Liverpool are closer than we think

Indonesia and the UK are both surrounded by water resulting in many similarities. Talking to the artists at LightNight, they all began their work exploring the places where the water and land meet, and people’s relationship to the water both in the past and today. The relationship to the water wasn’t the only thing they noticed. They recognised the similarities in people's culture, music and, most importantly, the art world. All the artists noticed the way people help each other through art.

LightNight showed the artists focusing on sustainability and the environmental problems around water which are common in both Liverpool and Indonesia. They looked at how to overcome these using art and technology.

2. Technology and art can enable change

Artist Tanti Sofyan ran a workshop for young people looking at interactive electronics. She taught the audiences how to build circuits and use energy to make music out of fruit!

The artistic duo Bombo used visuals and sound to address the crisis of abandoned buildings around Liverpool. They asked people to write down what they would do with these abandoned buildings, encouraging people to think of other ways to use space.

Programmer and coder Ndaru showed the audiences three screens with a video of himself exploring the areas where the water meets land, looking at energy in water and the role of lighthouses in the past and today.

Cross disiplinary artist Andreas Siagian taught the audiences how to create rope from plastic bottles. The strong plastic rope can then be used for other purposes rather than clogging up the city's rivers and lakes.

All the works looked at creating a positive impact in society, showing us how technology and art can enable change.

3. Long-term residencies are a great way of strengthening cultural relations

Irma Chantilly, the curator running the 'Water Connections' project, expressed the importance of long-term residencies.

It was clear the artists had immersed themselves in the city as they talked about all the people they had met and things they discovered. The people at FACT had also learnt a great deal about Indonesian ways of working.

These relationships will continue to grow. 

This work helps children to think creatively. It also engages the parents too. It’s a nice way of learning through technology, not about mobiles which is great!" Student, Liverpool.

Image of Andreas making rope out of plastic
Andreas taught the audience how to make rope out of plastic! He also used a video to address the problem of plastic in the rivers in Indonesia.
Image of Ndaru
Ndaru getting ready for Light Night. He worked with UK based artist Jack Lowe filming spaces around the water in Liverpool. Audience members were given headphones with audio to enhance the experience.
Image of bombo in front of their work
Rais and Reza otherwise known as Bombo giving the people of Liverpool a tour around their city through visuals and audio looking at what we can do with the empty buildings of Liverpool.

4. Technology can mean anything

I assumed that the relationship between art and technology meant complex technology that might not be accessible for the audience on LightNight. However, each artist engaged the audience with technology in amazing ways!

Technology can be a wooden tool used to cut plastic or visuals and audio to inspire people to think about space.

5. Residencies don’t stop on the flight home 

LightNight showed me how much these artists could learn in just three weeks. All the projects don't stop here though! They will continue to grow their work for the exhibition and then develop them further once they get home, taking a little piece of Liverpool back to Indonesia. They will also be exhibited as part of the UK/ID festival 2017 in October and November later this year.

I look forward to following their stories and finding out where water connections takes them next.

Visit the Water Connections exhibition in Liverpool

31 May - 13 June 2017, FREE at FACT Liverpool