We’re only a month into the year and it’s great to hear the responses to the City of Culture’s opening event… Made in Hull. “I feel so proud!” is the often heard quote from radio an TV interviewees lips. So it looks like the initial surge to engage with the UK wide cultural celebration in Hull has begun.
Over 350,000 pairs of feet fell mainly onto Queen Victoria Square to witness the immersive “WE ARE HULL!” animated film and light show conceived by artist Zsolt Balogh. Fifteen minutes of history, people and events that reflect the shared collective experience of every Hullensian over the last 70 years.
A non-English reading tourist experiencing these immersive, colourful, rousing projections couldn’t fail to have taken away something of the essence of Hull. Like a hypnotic, experiential giant flick-book. Its introduction and theme designed to pay homage to its host, with a nostalgic nod to the industries of the past, a current catch up on present times and future facing good news stories for the Hull Daily Mail. With a glimpse of the famous faces from our collective psyche and some recognition for those stalwarts of local cultural activity, who for so long only a few knew, now projected fifty feet high on York stone screens.
Hull’s own Sean McAllistair, the award winning independent documentary film maker, was a great choice to direct the Made in Hull opening events and its media promotion to the wider world. His own take on Hull is now in the pipeline and will no doubt be in the usual honest and revealing personal film style that has won him so many plaudits.
Made in Hull certainly whetted the appetite for things to come. Then as quick as a flash, the Siemens “Blade” cut through the wake of the first event! By laying its 75m hand-made, fibre glass structure down for a ten week stretch in front of the Ferens Art Galleries newly opened doors. Commissioned by the artist Nayan Kulkarni, it is another colossal spectacle. Is it sculpture though? people asked, or an artfully inclined product placement from a grateful Hull? – An art debate is started… job done!
Either way, many photos will be taken of people with arms raised propping up its tip. (Which points toward The Punch pub who’s visitor numbers will no doubt go through the roof this year – much deserved too!). The Blade will be remembered, talked about, enshrined in our future cultural conversations.
Which is part of the whole point of UK City of Culture status. The remainder of that point being how more people are inspired to express aspects of it, creatively via the arts.
Our truth will be in 2020 as Phil Redmond, the Brookside writer/producer and UK City of Culture creator explains. It will be in the looking back. In the shared consciousness of an event that focused all our minds, consistently over twelve whole months, on the not so very day to day aspects of our lives. Leaving, for those that live creatively expressing that shared story, a legacy of being more openly received, appreciated and supported.
In the meantime, let’s hope people carry on coming out to experience both our ‘usual’ cultural events alongside those arranged by the 2017 team.
THEN GET THE T-SHIRT..HOODIE..HAT..