Hundreds to take part in 365-day artistic project to keep watch over city

The setting for a year-long artistic project on the roof of Hull College
The setting for a year-long artistic project on the roof of Hull College (PA Media)
16:34pm, Tue 04 May 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

A year-long artistic project in Hull that will see hundreds of people spending an hour alone in a glass box on top of one of the tallest buildings in the city has got under way.

The Vigil will see participants keep a solitary, silent watch, without a phone or camera, from the roof of Hull College, at sunrise and sunset every day until May 3 2022.

A total of 730 people will take part in the performance, which is the first of its kind to be held in the UK.

The Vigil is a large-scale work by choreographer Joanne Leighton, from the Paris-based performing arts company WLDN, and has been running continuously in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria over the last eight years.

The chance to participate in Hull was offered, on a first-come-first-served basis, to anyone aged over 18, with every place booked within hours of being released.

The bespoke wood and glass structure where the Vigil is taking place – designed by designer Benjamin Tovo and built by local firms – offers views to the west over Queen’s Gardens and the statue of William Wilberforce and to the east across the River Humber, the docks and the coast.

Participants will take part in a short training session ahead of their time in the shelter and are encouraged to remain standing throughout the hour.

Afterwards, they will be photographed and will write up their experience in The Vigil Journal.

At the end of the project, all 730 participants will gather together to reflect and celebrate the year of the Vigil.

The Hull Vigil is the perfect opportunity for us to take a moment to contemplate where we are and our hopes for the future.

The project, which was commissioned and produced by Freedom Festival, is presented as part of the Global Streets and Creative Europe In Situ programmes and part-funded by Arts Council England.

Mikey Martins, artistic director and joint chief executive of Freedom Festival, said: “This is an amazing artistic project connecting the city and we’re so proud its UK debut is in Hull, as we continue to show we’re a city leading the way culturally.

“The narrative of the performance will unfold as the year progresses. While each Vigil stands alone, together they form a human chain of community, humanity and resilience, which has even more significance as the world starts to reopen.

“The Hull Vigil is the perfect opportunity for us to take a moment to contemplate where we are and our hopes for the future.”

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Ms Leighton said: “Each vigil stands for us all. As a choreographer, I’m fascinated by making large-scale artwork for cities that brings people together.

“The Vigil asks the question: is it the vigil watching the performance of the city or is the person in the city watching the performance of the vigil?”

For more information, visit www.thehullvigil.co.uk

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