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.