Inspired by our relationship with our planet, a bold and epic new ‘Floating Earth’ installation by Luke Jerram is set to be unveiled as part of Lightwaves 2021 in Salford Quays this December.    


As world leaders and policy makers descend on Glasgow to accelerate action to tackle climate change, we’re faced with an urgent call to action – as nations and as individuals. Inspired by our relationship with our planet, a bold and epic new ‘Floating Earth’ installation by Luke Jerram is set to be unveiled as part of Lightwaves 2021 in Salford Quays this December.

Measuring 10 metres in diameter and created from 1200dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface, the awe-inspiring artwork provides the opportunity to see our planet floating in three dimensions.


Luke Jerram, UK artist known worldwide for his large-scale public artwork, has created this brand new work to give visitors a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment. Something so timely and relevant to today as COP26 climate talks take place, billed as the world’s last chance to get on track to avoid climate catastrophe.


Featuring high tech NASA imagery and a surround-sound musical track by BAFTA award winning composer Dan Jones, the spellbinding artwork will give visitors to Media City the chance to appreciate the beauty of our planet.


The internal LED lighting will remain on throughout the festival but will become most visible at sunset. It will undoubtably be flooding Instagram feeds across the start of December as people set out to view the incredible spectacle.


The installation will be situated within The Manchester Ship Canal, next to The Lowry. The piece was originally commissioned by Quays Culture in partnership with Wigan Council and will also feature as part of Light Night in Wigan.

Taking place from Friday 3rd to Sunday 12th December, Lightwaves, the annual 10-day light festival animating Salford Quays features its most ambitious line-up to date.


Free to attend, Lightwaves is expected to attract its biggest audience to date with more event details due to be revealed in the coming weeks. No tickets are required, and this year Quays Culture will launch a free mobile app to help visitors navigate their way around the outdoor festival.


Alongside ‘Floating Earth’, there are an additional eleven installations featured at the festival including ‘Cygnus’ by Loomaland, a mesmerising water ballet featuring 12 perfectly synchronised, glowing robot swans. Another work that will animate the water is the newly-created ‘Sirens’ by Davy & Kristin McGuire – an installation that uses holographic projections to transform public waterways into mythical underwater worlds inhabited by supernatural sea creatures and mysterious mermaids.

Mystery Bird will be another key piece on the trail, commissioned by Quays Culture and developed as a static installation specially for Lightwaves, featuring the work of extraordinary paper artist Helen Musselwhite, vocal artist Jason Singh, the projection team Illuminos, local fabricators M3 Industries, and digital expert Jack Hardiker.


Jennifer Taylor, Programme Producer at Quays Culture said:


“We’re thrilled to be commissioning and presenting twelve unique light installations as part of this year’s Lightwaves, and particularly excited to be animating the iconic waterways at Salford Quays with such ambitious and captivating works. Quays Culture is passionate about elevating world-class artistic experiences and making them available to audiences free of charge thanks to the incredible support of our funders and partners – this year’s programme really embraces that and raises the ambition to a new level.”



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