A real sense of pride. That’s what we felt, as we followed up our night at the fireworks by taking to the streets to soak up Hull 2017’s Made in Hull trail, the work of an “eclectic group of extraordinary artists”, headed up by creative director Sean McAllister, writer Rupert Creed, and with sound design by Dan Jones and lighting design by Durham Marenghi.
Where to start? Perhaps where we did, in Queen Victoria Square, for Zsolt Balogh’s We Are Hull – the “epic” retelling of the past 70 years of Hull people and their history and a deft use of image mapping lighting up the City Hall, Maritime Museum and the Ferens. For me, the mapping worked best on the Maritime Museum – the old Dock Offices, former home of the Hull Dock Company that ran the entire dock system in the city – partly because of that grand architecture and the use of the windows, partly because of the fishing industry headlines that would have caused headaches for those that used to work in the building but mainly because when the epic focused on the Blitz, it really did look like the building was alight.
We loved We Are Hull so much that we watched it from every available angle, spotting different moments in history, different faces, different headlines and marveling that, whatever the angle and craggy wall surface, Deano always cracked that volley into the back of the net.
We Are Hull set the tone and the standard. Invisible Flock’s 105+dB in the fab Zebedee’s Yard virtually sent us out into the centre of the KC Stadium, although nobody in their right mind would stay for the entire Hull City game that this “spectacular stadium of sound” was recorded at. It’s an aural and visual assault: We moved on with a chant of “Steve Bruce’s black and amber army” hurting our ears, having been blinded by the floodlights.
Then we took in Whitefriargate, a right rag-bag of installations in shop windows – the highlights being Preston Likely’s veracity-questioning Amuse Agents, Sodium’s We’re All Going On A Summer Holiday, featuring the Roaring Girls playing Scrabble in a mock caravan and miraculously not giggling like they do in real life and, again, Invisible Flock, this time with their Reflections.
Quentin Budworth’s Hullywood Icons is a fantastic collection of recreations of iconic big screen images and included so many of our mates that I’m still not sure if I like the pics because of their artistic merit (which is high) or if I’m just amused by people that I’ve consumed booze with dressing up (or in the case of Rupert Creed, standing on his doorstep in his underpants).
Jesse Kanda’s recreation of the club scene in Yorkshire – Embers – seemed to baffle most people, although the footage was fun. But it wasn’t the rave we were looking for. MakeAMPLIFY’s (in) Dignity of Labour looked beautiful but, having read the blurb, which promised something that gave voice to the unemployed, I’m not sure the narrative was clear enough – but one heck of a crowd took it all in.
We posed for Urban Projections’ Vantage Point, a large scale selfie that put us in a work of art, which was fun. And we ended up at The Deep, for imitating the dog’s Arrivals and Departures, my personal favourite of all of the Made in Hull happenings, which told the story of the ebb and flow of people, and animals, into Hull and, like We Are Hull, was a fantastic use of mapping technology.
It was a great trail to follow, most of it impressed greatly and there was a terrific buzz around the city, as people realised that this was not only the start of the year but a bloody good one at that. The team that pulled it all together deserve all the plaudits that will come their way – they instilled a real sense of pride in every one from Hull that experienced the trail, will no doubt silence critics outside of the city, and this opening salvo bodes well for what will follow in the coming weeks and months.