Global Streets, a programme of international outdoor arts presented in 12 towns and cities across the country, today announces an ambitious season of temporary installations, performing arts and light-based artworks running over summer and autumn 2021.
Funded by Arts Council England and produced by FESTIVAL.ORG, this year’s Global Streets programme opens with We Are Watching, a timely commentary on the climate crisis by Swiss artist and activist Dan Acher.
Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director of FESTIVAL.ORG, said today: “This year Global Streets sets out to reunite local communities with international artists following a period in which we’ve all missed out on the conviviality and spectacle that international outdoor arts uniquely provide. I’m very proud of the way in which Global Streets partners have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, in the most difficult of circumstances, towards the reanimation of high streets, town and city centres across the country.”
We Are Watching is a striking image of a giant eye flown on a monumental flag, created from digital portraits contributed by people living in 190 countries across the globe. This 10-storey high flag is designed to send a clear message to world leaders with the power to affect decisions about climate change at the forthcoming COP26 in Glasgow, that the eyes of the world are upon them. We Are Watching will tour to Greenwich, Hounslow, Birmingham, Doncaster and Liverpool between August and October, before further presentations in Scotland in October and November.
More than ever, this year’s productions have been selected to bring communities together to share in moments of joy, celebration and reflection. Described by US-based artist Yvette Mattern as ‘a visual translation of hope and peace’, Global Rainbow has been seen around the world since 2009, and will be seen above the skies of Leicester and Doncaster in November, before a further presentation in Poole. The artwork’s seven rainbow laser beams have taken on a new significance since 2020 with symbolic links to the NHS and the UK’s outpouring of gratitude to and support of key workers.
This year’s Global Streets programme will also feature the UK première of Dan Acher’s Borealis, a spectacular installation that reimagines in light and sound the experience of the Northern Lights, a mesmerising ‘must see’ moment of awe and wonder. Borealis will tour to Greenwich and Woolwich in August and September.
Many productions invite audiences to play an active role in their presentation. Created by French artists Collectif Coin, Globoscope is an immersive installation made up of 200 luminous spheres that transform each venue into a multi-sensory, changing terrain, inviting audiences to take a surrealist stroll through an illuminated landscape. Luma Paint by Germany-based Studio Lichtfaktor invites participants to create their own transient light paintings. Audiences are encouraged to take part, experiencing how they can create graffiti out of lighting, experimenting with lines, shapes and colour. Globoscope will tour to Gloucester, Hounslow and Woolwich in November and December, and Luma Paint will tour to Luton in September.
Despite the pandemic, in recent seasons Global Streets has played a role in reimagining High Streets as places of social interaction and togetherness. Global Streets partner Hull Freedom Festival will be working with French company Rara Woulib in December to create a new participatory outdoor adventure and spectacle through the high streets and old town of Hull involving over 200 local singers, local and regional performing arts students, visual artists and many volunteers. And Joyous Urban Mess, from the French street theatre company Les Vernisseurs, will bring surprise and delight to high streets, as these spaces are reinvented as playgrounds for 5 ‘workers’ who end up showering themselves and audiences in confetti, ribbons and streamers. Joyous Urban Mess will tour to Leicester, Birmingham, Coventry and Barking and Dagenham in August and September.
Meanwhile, Hull’s year-long Vigil, a thought-provoking, large-scale monumental work by Australian-Belgian choreographer Joanne Leighton from Paris-based WLDN, continues in the city. Every day for a year, at sunrise and sunset, a vigil is keeping watch over Hull from a bespoke structure located on top of the Hull College building. Over the course of the year, 730 people are contributing to the collective vigil, a 365-day silent and peaceful performance, to watch over and to tell the story of a city coming back to life.
Further productions will be announced in the Autumn 2021.
For more information, please visit https://festival.org/global-streets/