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Quays Illuminated By Human Torches

Hundreds of glowing runners to light up the waterfront

Published on January 17th 2013.

Quays Illuminated By Human Torches

HUNDREDS of runners will illuminate the night sky around Salford Quays over three nights this March. An ambitious work of literally manmade art will transform the docklands into a celebration of movement, light and sound. 

Fitness enthusiasts are a common sight around Manchester's waterways as joggers use the city's towpaths to keep fit. The Speed Of Light project will transform this daily sight into a spectacular nightime show.

Over 400 runners will take part in the extraordinary performance, activating specially designed, individual light suits to bring the urban landscape to life.

The free to watch event is the first of it's kind to happen in England and will take place on Thursday 21, Friday 22 and Saturday 23 March between 8pm and 9pm.

Over 400 runners will take part in the extraordinary performance, activating specially designed, individual light suits to bring the urban landscape to life. Each night, runners will animate the canal banks, bridges and public spaces around The Lowry, IWM North (part of Imperial War Museums) and MediaCityUK, home of the University of Salford and BBC North, as they move in choreographed patterns set to a specially commissioned audio accompaniment.

Speed of Light, created by public arts charity NVA, uses cutting edge technology to turn runners into human fireflies, attaching a series of LEDs to the joints, limbs and heads of moving bodies to create a beautiful and memorable experience for both participants and onlookers. 

NVA's Speed Of Light_Copyright Amano Studio %28Img 2%29Speed Of Light

The advanced technology allows NVA to control the sequence and flow of the light by remotely controlling each individual suit

The event has previously been staged as part of the Edinburgh International Festival 2012 and on the docklands of Yokohama in Japan.

Lucy Dusgate, Manager of Quays Culture, says: “NVA’s Speed of Light is the latest in a series of events commissioned by Quays Culture, inviting audiences to experience The Quays’ transformation from an historic place of industry to a modern, vibrant destination that’s alive with creativity and culture.

"The performance will use the area’s modern architecture and canal side setting to create an experience unique to what has been seen in Edinburgh and Yokohama. We expect the event to be popular with runners from Salford, Trafford and across Greater Manchester, but want to see even more people enjoying the evening with us as spectators.”

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of NVA, says: “Salford Quays is a perfect place to stage our first UK-wide outing for Speed of Light, which is set to tour the world over the next two years.

"The combination of water, bridges, raised routes and signature architecture is a powerful setting in which to experience the subtle patterns of light the runners make as they move through and around the location.”

Salford Quays At NightSalford Quays At Night

NVA and Quays Culture are advising runners to register for the event as early as possible, with demand from Greater Manchester and around the UK expected to be high. Registration opens to participants on Thursday 17 January 2013.

Runners must be fit enough to run 5k with ease by March 2013 and be available for technical rehearsals.  Places are allocated on a first come first serve basis for a fee of £10, which includes a technical t-shirt and a goody bag. Places are available for wheelchair users. Volunteers will also play an essential role in the lead up to, and during the event.

To register as a runner or to find out more about volunteering roles available visit www.nvaspeedoflight.org.uk

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