After seeing the light show and the fireworks on the opening night, we set off to see some of the other installations but most were too crowded and to be honest, we skimmed over them and we were a bit too tired to do them justice. We’d seen the main events and so decided to head home and visit again one evening during the week to seek out the other things and see them properly.
On the Thursday evening, we hopped on the bus into town and were absolutely gobsmacked at the crowds. The official estimate is that there were 100,000 visitors to the light show that night alone and I think most of them were there at the same time as us! It was heaving with bodies and we couldn’t actually get onto the square so watched the show from down the side of the Maritime Museum. We were able to view it on City Hall that time, rather than the Ferens as we had the first time. It was interesting to see it on a different ‘screen’ and both agreed that Ferens, being mostly flat fronted was a better screen but some of the parts of the film looked better projected on City Hall. The Hull Fair clip in particular and the blitz scene with windows smashing and buildings crumbling looked so realistic, as though the windows of the City Hall really were shattering.
From there we made our way across to Whitefriargate to see several installations set up in the windows of vacant shops. Some better than others, a little summary of them all below.
Amuse Agents. This is a mock up of a newsagent with Small Ad notices in the window. Absolutely hilarious and proved so popular that it is the only one of the installations to be given a stay of execution after the week and is actually still there now in mid-April.
Pauline’s Gift Shop Emporium. A tribute to a second hand shop in Hull’s Princes Avenue which became a bit of a local legend as did it’s owner, Pauline Gift. Customers came from far and wide and this installation was a mock up of the shop, featuring genuinely interesting vintage items along with the accumulated junk that is always to be found in these kinds of shops. A sound track of people’s memories of Pauline, which were actually quite touching played along in the background.
Reflections. A bit odd this, just a film which filled a whole shop window of various people sitting on a bench down Whitefriargate. Not quite sure what it was all about.
We’re all going on a summer holiday. In recognition of the caravan industry which is a very large employer in the Hull region. In one side of the shop window, a set up of the inside of a caravan with two women playing board games whilst in the other window a film played showing a production line in a caravan manufacturing company.
The Heart of Rugby. In case you don’t know, Hull has two rugby league clubs. Hull Kingston Rovers, the Robins, in the East and Hull FC, the Airlie Birds, in the West. This display in a double fronted shop showed films and memories of both clubs, one in either window with kit and fan memorabilia displayed around the screens. I’m originally from the East of the city so a Robin in case you wondered!
On then to other areas. Projected onto the side of the C4Di building near Humber Street we had photographer Quentin Budworth’s Hullywood Icons where ordinary (or slightly bonkers depending on your viewpoint) people of Hull recreated iconic scenes from Hollywood movies but with Hull as their setting. Enormous fun, I followed this on the site blog as the photographs were being taken and only wished I could have thought of a scene to do myself.
At the High Street Underpass we had something called Embers, which the blurb told us was a multi screen and sound installation recreating self expression in the the protective womb of the club space. In reality it was a screen showing dancers at a rave with a soundtrack that didn’t seem to go with it. Not impressed I’m afraid.
On Scale Lane, projected onto a gable wall was (in) Dignity of Labour. It wasn’t to my taste if I’m honest, it showed scenes of people working in boring manual labour, along with a depiction of young people constantly building blocks one on top of the other and then them all collapsing to be built up again. The cleverest part of this was that it was in the full view of the offices of Oriel House which is where anyone who has ever had to claim benefits in Hull knows is the place where they make the decisions on how much or if you get any money this week!
Last but certainly not least, down at our iconic aquarium The Deep, where our two rivers meet, a projection on the side of the building called Arrivals and Departures told the story of the ebb and flow of people, animals and cargo from distant shores through our City over the years. We are “A place built on working hands washed here by the sea”. See it here. Arrivals and Departures