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Essential Journal

  /  Art   /  Aurora


Step inside Toxteth Reservoir and take a walk through the sights, sounds and wonder of an ice cave, rainforest and monsoon.

This September, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and interactive art experts Invisible Flock, will take over Toxteth Reservoir for a unique ‘walk through water’. AURORA invites audiences to step inside the cave-like vaults of one of Liverpool’s hidden gems for an epic, immersive experience.  Choosing the decommissioned reservoir as its home, and working with international artists from around the world including Indonesia, India and Japan, AURORA will tell a global story of our relationship to water. 

The Grade II listed Toxteth Reservoir, built in 1845 and decommissioned in 1997, was one of the first in the world to use cutting edge Victorian engineering to preserve fresh water for Liverpool’s growing population. For AURORA, this brick fortress – which is half the size of a football pitch – perched at the top of Liverpool’s High Park Street in Toxteth, has been reimagined for the 21st century. Bleeding edge interactive technologies, soundscapes, lasers and ice sculptures captivate the beauty and power of water, set within the cavernous walls and cloisters of this Victorian landmark.

Created by Leeds-based artists Invisible Flock, AURORA is an experience like no other. The sensuous and emotionally evocative materials of water, ice and even the smell of rain will elicit our innate and spiritual connection with water: reminding visitors of its power, and ultimately its magic. 

Invisible Flock Creative Director, Victoria Pratt said: “AURORA is a brand-new,

spectacular work of art that attempts to create a discussion about climate change in  a way that engages, challenges but also positively engages audiences in questioning and re-evaluating their relationship to the natural world and their effect on it. AURORA uses cutting edge technology to present water as a substance, a body, a spiritual entity and not simply a utility. In the driest summer on record it could not be a more appropriate time to have this conversation about water, to explore absence but also excess.”

To produce part of the atmospheric soundscape for AURORA, four local schools – St Silas Primary School, Holy Family Primary School, Matthew Arnold Primary School and King’s Leadership Academy – collaborated with Invisible Flock, Simon Fletcher, the FACT Learning Team, and musician James Hamilton to compose and play music for the installation, using and inspired by water.

James Hamilton, AURORA composer and collaborating artist, said:The sound in the reservoir is like no other place I’ve been in. You expect a cave-like echo, but get a continuous, smooth sound that moves around the space. You can almost trace its path as it floats through the arches of the reservoir, a ghost of its source.”

FACT and Invisible Flock invited international artists to collaborate in AURORA’s creation to offer a truly global story of our relationship to water. These include: Miebi Sikoki & Rudi Nurhadi from Digital Nativ (Indonesia); Babitha George & Romit Raj from Quicksand (India); sound artists Abshar Platisza (Indonesia) and Etza Meisyara (Indonesia); lighting designer Azusa Ono (Japan/UK); lighting artist Bagus Pandega (Indonesia); composer James Hamilton (UK); and engineer and musician Simon Fletcher (UK). The involvement of many of these artists has been kindly supported by British Council, Indonesia.

This large-scale art installation is part of Liverpool 2018 – a year-long programme of cultural projects to mark the 10th anniversary of Liverpool being European Capital of Culture.

AURORA is co-commissioned by FACT (Foundation for Art & Creative Technology) and Invisible Flock in partnership with Liverpool City Council, and Dingle 2000. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and British Council.

Tickets on sale from
Toxteth Reservoir, High Park Street, L8 8LU21, 22, 23,

27, 28, 29, 30 September & 4, 5, 6, 7 October. 12pm-8pm (performances every hour on the hour, last entry 7pm)

Prices from: £10-£12 (concessions, family tickets and group rates available).