A beating heart as big as the city

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A huge beating heart will be illuminating the Leeds skyline this week as part of the city’s Light Night arts and cultural event.

The heart, on Bruntwood’s new flagship building above the rail station, will be activated by couples using a touch-activated plinth triggering the heart to pulsate, symbolic of them coming together to become a living part of the cityscape. The plinth will be located on Bishopgate Street.

Light Night Leeds 2017 seeks to engage people with the city via a programme of ambitious light-based art installations which will transform the familiar into extraordinary experiences on the evenings of October 5th and 6th.

Using the city as a canvas, the artist Stuart Langley has created the installation to add more visual energy to one of Leeds’ most central, iconic and up and coming buildings, Platform.

The work is designed to heighten the sense of human experience of the city by marrying the beating hearts of audiences to the wider metropolis. A simple pulsing arrangement of illuminated windows will captivate audiences as the building appears to come to life as it displays the dynamic coloured beating heart.

Stuart, who is based in Hartlepool and specialises as a graphic design and neon maker, said: “I want to link the people to the fabric of their city and this heart is to be symbolic of the passion, life and frenetic energy of Leeds city centre and its inhabitants.

“Leeds is such a creative place and growing all the time and is never afraid of reinvention and stepping boldly. For me, not only will the installation reimagine the cityscape, but also draw attention to the significant regeneration taking place all around and particularly of the Platform building itself as it embarks on a new life of occupation.”

Platform will also be the registration and departure point for the Light Night Art Run, which is a family-friendly 5k fun run around the main sites of Light Night.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Light Night Leeds brings together people, organisations and artists from across Leeds and beyond, transforming the city into a beautiful spectacle of light, colour and sound year after year.

“This incredible event wouldn’t be possible without the help and support of city-wide partners and sponsors, and we’re very proud to be working alongside Bruntwood to bring artist Stuart Langley’s ‘Beating Heart’ to the new Platform building. Together, we hope we can help the tens of thousands of people who attend the event to experience Leeds in a whole new way.”

The Light Night installation at Platform is one of several ways in which Bruntwood is supporting Leeds’ ambition to be chosen as the UK’s last European Capital of Culture in 2023.

As part of its commitment to the bid, Bruntwood, which has partnerships with Leeds Beckett School of Art and West Yorkshire Playhouse, is creating opportunities for local artists to exhibit their work.

The UK’s largest mural, Athena Rising, by street artist duo Nomad Clan, was unveiled in July on the east elevation of Platform, while in the building’s reception area a huge LCD media wall will showcase the work and talent of the city region’s best digital media artists when the building officially opens in November.

Craig Burrow, director of Leeds, Bruntwood said: “At Bruntwood, we recognise that culture has an integral role in the life of a city and plays a special part in Northern life and the economy. The large cities of the north are already world-class leaders in culture. Each is naturally unique, yet collectively culturally rich, sharing dynamic industrial pasts, an inimitable northern spirit and a true sense of community.

“Actively supporting the success of our regional cities is a key priority for us and that is why Bruntwood is proud to be supporting the Leeds bid to become to European Capital of Culture in 2023.

“Leeds’ bid marks an opportunity to show how, through culture, we can paint the success, talent and ability of one of our great city regions on a national and international stage. This bid will help to cement Leeds as a world-class visitor destination, contributing to the social and economic vitality of not just the north, but the whole of the UK.

“Business and regional support has been a defining factor in the success of all previous European Capital of Culture bids and is critical for Leeds this time around. This is a chance to showcase Leeds specifically, and the north of England in general, on a national and international scale, providing a huge boost to the city, the region and the wider economy in the north.”

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