Open Bridges Press Release 2017. Scroll down for more hi res images to download.
UK City of Culture 2017 Open Bridges ‘The Day The City Split In Two’ Exhibition and Film
Open Bridges made history when for the first time all 13 of the bridges over the River Hull raised, swung or closed simultaneously splitting the city of Hull in two at 20:17 hours on 22nd September 2017. https://openbridgeshull.com/
The idea of Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard, Open Bridges was a logistical first and was the culmination of 18 months of meticulous planning and preparation. Delivered by an all Hull based team to manage the different elements, Open Bridges is a celebration of the lifeblood of the city, the River Hull and its 13 bridges, all movable. Historic vessels representing three centuries mustered on the River, all together for the first time, to be met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs.
The Open Bridges river journey was documented by Humber Film Creative Community who filmed the journey from the bow of the MV Syntan, and by filmmakers at every bridge on the night as the city split in two. Octovision Media’s drone footage of the striking view across the port from the night sky as the bridges close completes the vista. BAFTA winning composer John Stead who’s specially commissioned new musique concrète work ‘Moments in Time’ was premiered for Open Bridges has created a new soundtrack using field recordings of bridge movements to accompany the 20 minute 17 second long film.
Open Bridges is an exploration of the notion of freedom and freedom withheld during Hull City of Culture’s Freedom Season. Splitting the city in two to deny freedom of movement across the city was intended to create a public debate and triggered a social media storm. The culmination of Open Bridges, following the reuniting of the city was the live world premiere of John Stead’s new musical work, Moments in Time in the shadow of the iconic buildings, The Deep, The Tidal Barrier, Millennium Bridge and the C4Di building, where the River Hull meets the Humber Estuary.
Organiser Rich Duffy-Howard said, “Hull is the only city in the world where this could happen as all 13 bridges over the navigable stretch are moveable. It’s something which will go down in Hull’s history. It was a massive challenge, a huge team effort, totally independent, devised and delivered by local people. We are all thrilled that it all worked and now the dust has settled it’s exciting to be launching the film and exhibition.”
The elements of Open Bridges
The River Hull, the lifeblood of the city, runs directly through its centre, defining East and West Hull and the culture of the city – fishing heritage west of the river and commerce to the east.
No other city has so many opening bridges over such a short distance of navigable river. There are 13 bridges and all of them swing or lift to open to river traffic. All the bridges, road, rail or foot, allow not just small pleasure craft to pass, but commercial vessels with hundreds of tonnes of cargo.
Beautiful historic vessels representing three centuries; 18th century Schooner HMS Pickle, 19th century Humber Keel Comrade and 20th century Motor Barge MV Syntan mustered on the River Hull to be met on the Humber by powerful 21st century tugs; the recently launched Superman from SMS Towage and Josephine and Bristol from Svitzer. The original HMS Pickle was the first ship to bring news of Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and following Open Bridges joined the Royal Navy to make a historic journey to Portsmouth to be honoured for the annual Pickle Night celebrations berthing alongside its illustrious sister HMS Victory.
The world premiere of the new acousmatic composition ‘Moments in Time’ by Hull based BAFTA award winning composer John Stead was especially commissioned for Open Bridges. Electro Acoustic Ensemble director John’s new musique concrète work features found sounds recorded from Hull bridges was diffused in octophonic sound to a full house at the Stage@The Dock.
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 and the separation of Hull, East and West created citywide conversations about the meaning of freedom and the importance of Hull’s bridges.
OR FREEDOM WITHHELD?
Open Bridges workshops in schools, prison, hospice, and community venues explored 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 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 and our Open Bridges film partners Humber Film Creative Community and Octovision Media.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Duffy-Howard Music – Hull based musicians and event organisers Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard are known for their involvement in city events since 1999 – Grassroots Free Festival (2000-2008), Wilberforce 2007, Winterlude Festival, Hull700. Former Red Guitars bassist Lou and photographer Rich’s current band Loudhailer Electric Company are currently gigging their debut album Cursus to critical acclaim. Website: https://loudhailer.net/
Humber Film Creative Community – Humber Film are a local not for profit film production community, established to showcase and develop local talent in the art of film making in the Humber region.
John Stead – John Stead is a multi-award winning and internationally respected composer who has lived in Hull for most of his working life. Best known for light and sound installations, John’s work throughout the UK includes son et lumieres to celebrate the opening of Hull Tidal Barrier and Princes Quay, sacred space installations Day of Light at Lastingham and Another Mighty Angel at York’s NCEM.
Open Bridges website https://openbridgeshull.com/
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.
For more information, photographs or photo opportunities contact
Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard
Mob: 07971 956963 or 07813 599551
Click on a photo to open hi res image in new tab, and right click to save. Scroll down for press release.
Project concept, website, narrative and photography © Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard (unless otherwise stated)