Painting with Light in 2020

York Design Week got off to an incendiary and refulgent start last night (October 30th). New Visuality took over Tower Street with ‘KaWildOscopic’, a two night happening from York based and internationally well regarded Light Installation artist Nick Walters.

Q: New Visuality has been quiet lately. It’s good to see projected illuminations in York as the dark months descend! What new treats has New Visuality got in store this autumn?

A: Well, last year we projected as light the stories of Returning Citizens, or prisoners on the cusp of rehabilitation. That was for Mediale, the Media Arts event. I’m not sure if New Visuality as a charity has exhibited anything since then.

I know that with the difficulties of 2020, Alaa Jasim, one of the Trustees, has been working hard with organising outreach projects with young people from Sunderland, Durham, and Peterlee. There have been a lot of virtual creative sessions with York young people too. Alaa has been sending me digital art from young people of Heworth Without, Fishergate, Dringhouses and Woodthorpe. My job is to incorporate that art into game changing light installations!

So although I think the charity has been very busy, we haven’t had a chance to exhibit the work created until now. 

Q: Word on the street is that you are fresh from live streaming your art in Caerphilly, Wales? 

A: Yes, I live streamed my latest Video Art and my friend, Miecal Miecal, who is based down there, projected it onto materials used as a backdrop to his musical set. He used loops which he collected from time with his friend in Brazil, a mixture of clips which were reassembled live and then made into music. The sonic and element and the visual element worked really well. I synced my visuals to the mood of what he was doing, so the collaboration was instantaneously bespoke, allowing for the vagaries of the internet. It was that instantaneous aspect ifusion which appealed to me, and reflected our past collaborations from festivals. This was a trial run as to how successful internet virtual complementarity can work. We’re now thinking we could push the scope so it could involve 4 artists or more working online, all working instantaneously, all fused in one live event that can be streamed.

Q: How about York Design Week?

A: I love what York Design Week is doing. It’s getting such a groundswell of diverse York based artists together, as well as reaching further afield. All is on track here. Last night was a success, tonight should be just as good. I have 6 projectors, spinning screens, a glass plated floor which incorporates reflected light that pulses in tandem with the movement of the screens. Crucially, I’m using autumn leaves as the gel to fix the glass together, so the red and honey coloured light effect, normally from a coloured gel, will this time emanate from autumn leaves.

A: Wow! Why autumn leaves?

Q: One of the objectives of York Design Week is ‘Re-Wilding’, with the focus on making life in cities greener and more eco-diverse, so I have a lot of images and footage of wild landscapes, and insects. I plan to fuse what I’ve got with the artwork created in the outreach projects by New visuality. That’s a mixture of creativity from North East schools, as well as residents from all over York. Also the findings of local man Phil Bixby are included. Phil is well regarded for his interventions in public decision making and including the consultation from workshop attendees – a lot of people have a lot of opinions on how they want to see their local environment, and Phil and Helen do a great job in reaching out to cohorts of people who might otherwise not be involved.

Q: So how will this look?

A: Kaleidoscopic! It will be intense and startling and bright. These are illuminations, we don’t want to be too subtle.  Swirling visuals and swirling screens will combine to push the capabilities of what digital illuminations can do. The fact that we are on a street that has such a huge footfall is a bonus, especially when we consider that we are working on Halloween. If you get tired of pumpkins, candles and fake blood, come over to Tower Street to see Ka-Wild-o-scope.

Q: What’s next for Nick Walters?

A: We have a few winter events lined up with New Visuality, and hope to work with Sunderland Pavillion, projecting on the side of the building the artwork created by young people of the region during lockdown. I’m always keen to be involved with innovative, cutting edge happenings and events. Make it York has adopted an ambitious and ground-breaking Cultural Strategy, and I’d love to be involved with that on any level that helps promote how crucial is culture, especially in times like these. 

Ka-Wild-o-scope runs from October 30th to October 31st on Tower Street as part of York Design Week.

Nick Walters:

Photos by Alan Milner,

York Design Week:

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