On Saturday 29 October 2011 thousands of people took to the streets of Brighton for the White Night festival.
Now in its fourth year, the free all night event was bigger and more interactive than ever, despite concerns earlier in the year that it might not go ahead due to cuts in the art budget.
However there was no evidence of shortcomings with the nocturnal festival boasting 70 events through the evening, including 14 which were especially commissioned for the festival. Many of these incorporated the theme or idea of Utopia.
The locations and exhibitions were spread out across the city. The Old Market in Hove was host to ‘Occupy!’ a project in collaboration with the University of Sussex and the venue looking at 50 years of student experience.
On the other side of town a launderette in St James’ Street was holding a slightly more unusual event. ‘Laundry’ offered people somewhere to relax and enjoy a variety of more experimental entertainment.
Victoria Park was home to the ‘Alternate Village Fete’ where people could swing dance, have a vintage glamour makeover or enjoy a range of food and drink. People attending were actively encouraged to dress up; there were zombies, star-troopers and cowgirls to name but a few.
Elsewhere there were many more artistic venues, Phoenix Brighton was home to ‘Like Shadows: An Celebration of Shyness’, an interactive art experience. Meanwhile at Lighthouse ‘Subveillance’ was taking a look at surveillance and how it can be used to make art.
Metahub, which was in Jubilee Square, was using state-of-the-art technology to bring an interactive experience to the festival. The team were combining images from cameras around the city and those collected by revellers and displaying them on a 36-sided structure in the centre of the square.
The Metahub exhibition really captured the interactivity of White Night, something that the organisers were keen to encourage. As well as Facebook, Twitter and the White Night website there was a mobile website which smart phones could access on the night, helping people to navigate their way around the festival.
Much effort had been made to make this year’s White Night more interactive and accessible than ever. All of the events seemed to be popular and the centre was packed with people enjoying themselves.
For many people the festival really encapsulates the spirit of Brighton, it is creative and imaginative with an emphasis on involvement and access for all. Many of the events are made by the creative people of Brighton giving them an opportunity to show everyone just what Brighton is about.
Video made with Andrew Collins.
Originally published on Brighton and Hove Free Press.