Aurora – Toxteth Reservoir, Liverpool

Creators: Invisible Flock and Collaborators

Reviewer: John Roberts

It’s always interesting that you can live in a city for many years and not know that a place exists, even though its’ just a stone’s throw away from your doorstep and never has the case been truer, than Digital Flocks atmospheric art installation Aurora at Toxteth’s now disused reservoir.

Aurorahas been created by Leeds based Invisible Flock with artists and collaborators from around the globe. Aiming to challenge the viewers’ perception of water and its use, we are taken into the former water storage facility in the middle of this Victorian red brick building. It’s dark inside and the musty smell of history permeates the air. Smoke stifles your already impaired night vision and the sound of dripping water envelops you in the middle of the installation.

You are invited to walk around, but be warned, in the words of Samuel Taylor Coleridge there is “Water, water, everywhere” under your feet, above your head, by your side, in steam form, in liquid form and even in ice form. When they recommend wearing wellie boots, they really do mean it.

What makes the installation such a powerful and surreal experience, is the combination of the subject matter being used in such a clever way alongside a powerful and visceral soundscape, that is then lit by a wonderful and precise lighting design. We are taken from the melting glaciers, into the middle of a downpour on the street of Liverpool, to the quiet serenity of a hidden waterfall – not literally of course, this is all conjured up magically through the production elements and of course your own imagination – for while this is a group experience (you are taken into the reservoir to share the event with around 30 other people) what you ultimately get out of it. It must be noted, that at times the space can become spooky and oppressive and then almost instantaneously flip to a place of calm serenity – much like the subject matter itself.

Invisible Flock have created a visual and aural playground that inspires just as much as it challenges and its brilliant to see a disused building in the local Liverpool community being used to create such thought-provoking art. Which can carry on post your visit to the event through an exhibition at FACT in the city centre and through an explorative app which can be downloaded for both Apple and Android phones.

Runs until 7 October 2018 | Image: Alisha McCracken

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The North West team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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