Urban Legends: Northern Lights. Pic: Oh The Night! © Simon Wainwright

Hull will be shown at its dazzling best this winter as Absolutely Cultured presents Urban Legends: Northern Lights, a newly commissioned outdoor event that will illuminate the city with captivating projections and atmospheric soundscapes, igniting the imaginations of audiences of all ages.

Over a magical weekend starting on 29 November, the city’s buildings, streets, shop windows and winding alleyways of Hull city centre will become the pages on which stories are told. Taking inspiration from ancient mythology, fairy tales and oral history, Urban Legends: Northern Lights will draw on the connections between Hull and the countries across the North Sea in Northern Europe and Scandinavia, sparking conversations about the common stories shared between these places.  

From large and impressive to intimate and moving, the event brings together six leading national and international artists from the UK and Scandinavia, marking the return of many of Hull 2017’s celebrated artists. 

Returning artists include Zsolt Balogh’s New Visual Paradigm, the artist behind Made in Hull’s widely acclaimed We Are Hull; Studio McGuire who created Land of Green Ginger’s Micropolis; and Heinrich and Palmer and imitating the dog, who lit up The Deep with Floe and Arrivals and Departures respectively.  

Creative Director and CEO of Absolutely Cultured, Katy Fuller, said: “We know what resonated with people last year – events that saw the city come alive, with people sharing a story played out on the city’s buildings and in public squares. As Absolutely Cultured, we want to deliver ambitious and imaginative events – Urban Legends: Northern Lights will be our biggest and most ambitious event yet.

“Enthralling for all ages, the new work will tell stories using moving projection and commissioned soundscapes alongside new approaches, collaborations and technologies that will be a new experience for many audience members. It will spark conversations about the common stories we share through innovative work that will appeal to the huge audience we know we have here, as well as being relevant and interesting to visitors and those watching from afar.” 

Using the city’s streets, shops, buildings and public spaces as the pages of its story, Urban Legends: Northern Lights will unfold at The Rose Bowl, in King Edward Square, Queens Gardens and Hull Minster, as well as streets and shop windows down Whitefriargate and Parliament Street. 

Experience the ultimate bedtime story in Oh The Night! as imitating the dog explore the ritual of bedtime stories, but what happens to the characters once children have gone to sleep? Featuring an original soundtrack by Finnish Composer Lau Nau and a live community chorus from Hull. 

Inspired by the story of Skidblandnir, a magical shape-shifting ship, Heinrich and Palmer’s Ship of the Gods will combine film, 3D laser scanning technology, sound and lighting effects to create an ethereal and otherworldly experience.

Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales are the impetus for Still Lives by Studio McGuire. Recently relocated to Hull, the McGuires will draw on their beautifully stylish aesthetic to create a series of theatrical and captivating shop window displays, with a twist. 

Working with Ben Haggarty, expert storyteller and leading figure in the European storytelling revival, Zsolt Balogh’s New Visual Paradigm returns to Hull with Lost Paradise. In Queens Gardens, the audience can gather round an encampment to hear the fireside stories of where our shared Northern culture began, back before the time of the Vikings, when the North Sea was dry land. 

In Avenue, Newcastle-based Novak, will create an installation which will play out beneath the audience’s feet. The piece will explore the iconic textile designs of the 20th century to present day from Hull and Västra Götalan in Sweden and the stories and references woven and printed into the designs.

Through Absolutely Cultured’s collaboration with Curated Place, producers of Hull 2017’s North Atlantic Flux Festival, Icelandic artist and composer Dodda Maggý has spent time in residency in Hull, exploring the stories to be realised through her piece Alda (meaning ‘wave’ in Old Norse). Working with the University of Hull to create a new music and light installation work, performed by a new ensemble formed from the University of Hull, the installation will draw on a series of ancient legends and stories of monsters from the deep and will be projected onto one of Hull’s iconic buildings. 

The work of Absolutely Cultured would not happen without the generous support of funding partners, particularly Arts Council England and Hull City Council. Urban Legends: Northern Lights has been made possible with the support of our corporate partners including Wykeland, Rollits and BP. 

29 November – 2 December

Website: www.absolutelycultured.co.uk