Toxteth Reservoir in Liverpool has become the setting for a unique art installation that harnesses the power of Earth’s most valuable element, water. The cavernous reservoir once used to supply the surrounding areas with two million gallons of water, has been home to Aurora for the last three weeks. An immersive installation that not only addresses the building’s history, Aurora, also seeks to remind spectators the power water has within the natural world and its global effect on humanity.
The creators of the installation, Leeds based interactive art studio, Invisible Flock and Liverpool gallery FACT, invite viewers into the pitch black and seemingly empty reservoir to experience a sublime performance for all the senses.
Visitors enter the misty cave onto a platform submerged inches below the water line and are guided around the perimeter of the reservoir with only blue laser beams separating the edge of the path from the dark pools below. The seamless transition and shimmering reflections of the beams make you feel like you’re walking on water, its disorientating and surreal yet feels strangely comforting.
Forty-two blocks of ice hang from the ceiling amongst the reservoir’s supporting pillars, and continuously melt into the water below. The harmonious dripping cuts through the eerie silence of anticipation before the room fills with the booming sounds of the chaos of a thunderstorm that you can feel reverberate around your chest. The sounds of gushing winds and heavy rainfall dance around your ears as a laser beam light show flashes before your eyes. Starting slow and soothing the performance reaches a show stopping crescendo and is accompanied by breath taking music produced in partnership with children from four local schools. The whole experience is deeply moving and produces goose bumps not just because there is a wintery chill in the air.
The forty minute performance tracks the journey of the water cycle, from melting glaciers in the summer to crashing monsoons and freezing ice in the winter. Water goes through a series of vital changes in its life time, just as we humans do, some are beautiful whilst others can be chaotic. The installation can be seen as challenging to some, water can be calming yet to others it evokes fear and dread, its beautiful but also haunting and is a unique experience for every individual that passes through the doors.
Aurora is a beautiful reminder for the lucky people who managed to experience the sold out show of the power water has on our planet and that we must be much more respectful of it as a resource as without it, humanity would cease to exist.