Tracing the Sky, Jiayu Liu

  • North East
  • crafts, combined arts, dance, film, interdisciplinary arts, libraries, literature, museums, photography, music, theatre, visual arts
  • Louise Beer


12 - 8PM
15 July - 20 July

Brickworks, Barton Arcade, Manchester

A hidden underground space in a busy city is transformed into an immersive sanctuary. Under a Victorian shopping arcade, a space void of physical content is filled with floating motion graphics emerging from the brick walls of the deep basement hideaway.

Arresting imagery glides across the brickwork, vaulted ceilings and chambers of the subterranean location, filling the architecture with dreamlike skyscapes. The work uses 3D scanning, projection mapping and mobile phones equipped with augmented reality software to allow the audience to interact with the projections. Visitors will find themselves immersed in a fluid environment of simulated clouds and skies that change in response to how they interact with the installation via smartphone technology. Sounds generated from these interactions will add another dimension to the experience.

Tracing the Sky brings together in the same space two contrasting elements: the sky (air) and architecture (earth). This encounter allows each element to accentuate the presence of the other, overlapping virtuality and reality, tangible and intangible, human-made and natural. Jiayu Liu combines art and technology, creating a poetic way for visitors to observe and interact with their surrounding environment. Liu invites them to consider the empty space not just in terms of what it has to show, but as a place to reflect on our relationship with the natural, in this case the atmosphere and encompassing skies.

Known for her immersive and evocative light installations, Jiayu Liu (b. 1990, China) is a media artist based in London and Beijing. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art. Jiayu’s work often recreates and augments the natural world and focuses on relationships between human, nature and the lived environment, exploring human behaviour and response. Using live and static streams of data as well as digital technologies her installations enable new communication nodes with audiences.

Tracing the sky is presented by FutureEverything, sponsored by OPPO. It premiers in Manchester, UK as part of Distractions, a three-day tech summit presented by Manchester International Festival, Sound City and FutureEverything, developed by the