Freedom? or Freedom Withheld? #OpenBridgesHull Friday 22nd September 2017
All 13 bridges over the River Hull closed at 20.17 on the autumnal equinox 2017
Open Bridges is a whole tapestry of threads, a celebration of the lifeblood of the city, the River Hull and its 13 movable bridges – more than any other city. Beautiful historic vessels representing three centuries – 18th century HMS Pickle, 19th century Humber Keel Comrade and 20th century MV Syntan mustered on the River Hull, met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs from SMS Towage and Svitzer. Open Bridges is an exploration of the notion of freedom during the City of Culture’s Freedom Season. The culmination of Open Bridges – the live world premiere of John Stead’s new musical work, Moments in Time was magical. And the city momentarily split in two when all 13 bridges over the River Hull closed simultaneously for the first and only time in the city’s history – at 20:17 hours on the autumnal equinox 2017.
The River Hull runs directly through the centre of the city defining East and West Hull and the culture of the city – fishing heritage west of the river and commerce in the east. The city is united in a shared respect of Hull born politician and abolitionist William Wilberforce whose work to make slave trading illegal gave rise to Hull’s Freedom Festival and City of Culture Freedom Season. Freedom is a big part of the city but the only way to truly understand something is to experience it. For the first time ever, all 13 bridges over the River Hull closed – at 20.17 on the autumnal equinox 2017.
Beautiful historic vessels representing three centuries – 18th century HMS Pickle, 19th century Humber Keel Comrade and 20th century MV Syntan mustered on the River Hull to be met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs from SMS Towage and Svitzer.
The culmination of Open Bridges was the world premiere of a new acousmatic composition ‘Moments in Time’ by Hull based BAFTA award winning composer John Stead. Electro Acoustic Ensemble director, John’s new live octophonic diffusion features found sounds recorded from Hull bridges.
“Moments in Time invites us in with familiar sounds, allowing us to hear everyday life and unfamiliar sounds of the bridge mechanisms and then shaping this into a piece that has momentum, a point of repose and reflection before taking us to a world of musical freedom where the sounds are transformed into a dream like musical landscape before returning us to the familiar, as the composer says ‘in a moment.’ Shaped sounds and intricate rhythms take the listener on an evocative journey building dynamically to the ‘revelation’ of the working sounds of the bridges and beyond.”
Freedom, or freedom withheld?
Open Bridges includes workshops in schools, prison, hospice, and community venues exploring freedom and the impact of withholding freedom – the freedom of movement – considering the importance of Hull’s bridges, notions of East and West and the meaning of freedom today in the world.
Open Bridges is an independent Hull based project by Duffy-Howard Music in partnership with HCC Streetscene Services taking place during the City of Culture Freedom Season.
We are delighted that every aspect of planning and delivery of Open Bridges is by people who are Hull based.
Open Bridges is an independent Hull based project by Duffy-Howard Music taking place during the Hull City of Culture Freedom Season. It is supported by Arts Council England and Hull City Arts Fund with partnership support from Hull City Council Streetscene and project partners Malcolm Scott, John Stead, Streetscene’s Andy Burton, Pete Curry, Graham Lownsborough and Bridge Operations staff, Helen Thackeray: Hull Events, John Medland, Phil Withers, Mal Nicholson and Historic Motor and Sail, Paul Escreet: SMS Towage, Simon Lee: Svitzer (Maersk), The Humber Keel and Sloop Preservation Society, The Beverley Barge Preservation Society, Team Humber Marine Alliance, Freedom Festival’s Jenny Coombes and the Freedom Ambassadors, Hugh Jones of HPSS, C4Di, creative writers Christina Lewis and Russ Litten, photographers Piotr Korczynski and Graeme Oxby, Humber Film Creative Community and Octovision Media.
Project concept, website, narrative and photography © Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard (unless otherwise stated)