Immersive 'under water' exhibition highlights climate change for Lightwaves festival

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Visitors to our MediaCity campus will be deeply immersed ‘under water’ in a bespoke, thought-provoking installation as part of the highly anticipated Lightwaves festival this December.

Human Aquarium: Deep Water is a 180-degree projection that combines animation, sculpture and soundscapes to create a deep-water environment that shows the impact of plastic pollution and climate change. At the centre of the installation is a mapped origami boat that explores the theme of climate refugees – an estimated 1.2 billion people that will be displaced by climate change by 2050.

Lightwaves is an annual free event organised by Quays Culture that transforms the waterside environment at Salford Quays and MediaCity through a trail of light art installations. This year’s event will take place from Thursday 7 December to Sunday 10 December from 4pm to 10pm.

Human Aquarium: Deep Water is led by MA: Animation Programme Leader and Digital Artist Annabeth Robinson and is being developed and installed with the University’s Creative Technical Services Team in collaboration with Leeds-based arts organisation Yorkshire Life Aquatic.

Annabeth said: “The installation will be a beautiful and engaging exhibition that is a more meditative, think piece on the impact of climate change.

“It’s about understanding our connected relationship with water and oceans and raising awareness about the alarming data that is emerging around microplastics and how embedded it is in our ecosystem.

“The wraparound projection is deeply immersive, placing the visitor under water, floating in a big mass of plastic bottles. It’s a very theatrical piece of work.”

The installation, which will be found in the campus’ Development Lab, will also include family-focused workshops each night of the festival where visitors can interact with the exhibition and create their own origami boat and leave messages of hope around tackling climate change and plastic pollution.

Additional artwork, visual installation and interactive activities are also being produced by students from the University’s BA Animation and BA Digital Media & Extended Reality courses under the title of Submerged, providing a voice for the next generation on the topic.

A spokesman for Yorkshire Life Aquatic said: “We are really excited to team up with the talented School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology staff and students at the University of Salford for Lightwaves 2023.

“Investing in the next generation is really important to us and it’s a real opportunity to work with such cutting-edge digital equipment and the wealth of experience and knowledge that the University’s brilliant staff have. We have worked with students before but this is the first time we have built such a comprehensive partnership and collaborated with both arts and sustainability partners. We are excited about the future and look forward to building these partnerships further.”

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