LightNight 2017 artist profile: Andy McKeown

We asked the commissioned artists for this year's LightNight how their work responds to the festival's theme, 'Time'. New-media artist Andy McKeown tells us about his ambitious recreation of the Metropolitan Cathedral's 'crown'

Feature by The Skinny North | 10 May 2017
  • Andy McKeown - LMC Vertical Pano

Liverpool's annual late-night culture crawl, LightNight this year invites artists to respond to the word 'Time' in unlimited ways – covering everything from the city's past, present and future to the influence of time on art, science and philosophy.

Alongside the hundreds of free events across town on 19 May, with galleries, museums and art spaces throwing open their doors until late, LightNight also makes a number of commissions each year – and the eight new works for 2017 range from a light installation accompanied by music from Arvo Pärt to an audiovisual piece that the audience can control through data from their brainwaves and heartbeats. 

For LightNight 2017, new-media artist Andy McKeown is making a suspended light installation which will recreate Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral's 'crown', marking 50 years since its consecration.

The Skinny: Please can you tell us a little bit about your practice, and how your project for LightNight continues/relates to it?

Andy McKeown: My art practice is predominantly based on interactive and reactive new-media light and sound. Works range from intricate multi-projector interior installations to large-scale outdoor son et lumière and semi-permanent urban light works.

I have a passion for kaleidoscopes, stained glass, cathedrals, machine noise, industrial and avant-garde music and am currently working on a series of programmed animations and immersive generative sound and light installations and audience participation mechanisms.

My work has been moving away from conventional projection mapping and is now primarily focused on large layered array immersive spaces. The installation for the Metropolitan Cathedral, rotation eighteen269, is the latest of these works.

rotation eighteen269 [the 18,269 days from the Cathedral's consecration on 14 May 1967 to LightNight on 19 May 2017] is a multi-layered projection enveloping the Cathedral's central Sanctuary, with light resolving on 50 to 60 shards and splinters of white fabric hung from the sanctuary canopy to create an abstract of the lantern tower glass. The Cathedral choir will be visible through this new lantern space.

Music for the installation is a mix of Thomas Tallis, Arvo Pärt and a multi-layered voice piece, reiteration.

Light Up Lancaster 2016 - Rough Cut - LightRain Dance clip 1 from Andy McKeown on Vimeo.

How does your work for LightNight respond to the festival's theme, 'Time'?

The imagery is a mix of glass and items from the cathedral archive, from construction to the present day.

What else are you working on at the moment?

A one-off immersive installation, The Clock Room, for Museums at Night, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery on 17 May. A large-scale son et lumière to launch Armed Forces Day on 24 June (the show kicks off at midnight on the 23rd) at St Chad's, Shrewsbury. Then back up in Liverpool in July for Noye’s Fludde at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Throughout this I am recording voices for a WWI installation, One Name One Voice, which is a re-voicing of the 5286 names on the Shropshire Roll of Honour – recording 5286 individual voices, one for each name. I still have nearly 3000 voices to record before the end of the year. 

rotation eighteen269, Metropolitan Cathedral, 6.30-9.30pm (performances at 7pm, 7.45pm & 8.30pm) as part of LightNight Liverpool, 19 May