Spectacular clockface projection set to transform Leeds Civic Hall

Caption: An artist's impression of how 'Momentous' will look projected on Leeds Civic Hall (mandatory image credit for Illuminos)

A large-scale projection is to transform the entire façade of Leeds Civic Hall into a vast, animated mechanical clock later this year.

Commissioned by Leeds Inspired, ‘Momentous’ builds on the rich history of renowned Leeds clockmaker William Potts and will take place from October 3-5 2013, forming a centrepiece of the city’s ‘Light Night’ celebrations on Friday 4 October.

‘Momentous’ takes its inspiration from Potts clocks, some of which feature clockwork people. They were designed to capture the attention of the public and create a shared moment when they chimed the time, on the hour and each quarter hour.

The Civic Hall projection will be created by Illuminos artists Matt and Rob Vale. They will create a huge version of these automaton clocks, bringing the building to life. They will use video footage and photographs of Leeds people going about their daily lives to transform the clock face every 15 minutes.

‘Momentous’ will colourfully animate the Civic Hall. The architecture, windows and columns will form elements of the clock, with cogs, levers and pulleys whirring and rising. In front of the building, on Millennium Square, will sit a large-scale winding mechanism. The public will be invited to wind the handle and the weights and balances on the building will respond, rising upward in preparation for the quarter hour chime.

Leeds Inspired are calling on the people of Leeds to get involved to help create this imaginative new artwork. The artists will be filming at pop-up locations across the city throughout the summer. To register interest in being filmed for this large scale projection, either as a group or individual, please email hello@leedsinspired.co.uk

‘Momentous’ will see the artists, who also are brothers, return to Leeds where each of them studied: Rob Vale has an MA in Contemporary Fine Art and a BA in Fine Art from Leeds Metropolitan University; Matt Vale attained his Music BA from Bretton Hall, University of Leeds. Nominated in 2010 for the Northern Art Prize, Illuminos specialise in creating dramatic artworks in vastly diverse spaces, from ancient water towers to stately homes, contemporary buildings to war bunkers.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“I am looking forward very much to seeing Rob and Matt’s vision come to life in this ambitious, magical artwork which takes as its inspiration a fantastic piece of Leeds’ industrial history. ‘Momentous’ is also a fun way for people to share a one-off experience. Participants who are filmed this summer will be able to spot themselves within the ‘clock’ in October; whilst others can enjoy winding up the clock in person on the night. A modern take on the public event, ‘Momentous’ will be a very special shared moment.”

Leeds Inspired is part of the city’s cultural programme that celebrates arts and heritage events throughout the year, supporting high quality, accessible cultural experiences for Leeds’ residents and visitors. Founded in 2012, Leeds Inspired supports culture in the city through grants schemes, commissions and a ‘What’s On’ events website and, in its first year, has funded over fifty projects and events including art on canal boats, a children’s ballet, an up-cycled fashion show and a human cuckoo clock. Leeds Inspired is part of Leeds City Council.


For further information, images or interview requests please contact Debbie Pett or Anys Williams at Anita Morris Associates on 01943 603311.

Debbie@anitamorrisassociates.co.uk / @Debbie_Pett

Anys@anitamorrisassociates.co.uk / @AnysAMA

Notes to editors:

Leeds Inspired is part of Leeds City Council - www.leedsinspired.co.uk.

Illuminos are brothers Matt and Rob Vale, creating visually inventive, memorable artworks and experiences. Works range from very large scale illumination to small scale imagery, but always working to create something unique and specific to location and viewer. Combining elements of installation, dance, movement and music through film and architecture, each project that we approach develops from an exploration of the emotions of an environment, aiming to capture the essence of a place, space or feeling as a shared moment of time.

Recent and current projects from Illuminos include large-scale projection within Liverpool Anglican Cathedral with Cut to the Chase Productions; a collaborative project for Holmfirth Festival with Skelmanthorpe Brass Band; Live Lightwarve commissioned by Landmarks, Castlebar in Ireland; 12 Days of Swindon for the BNBC and in Swindon.

Potts of Leeds was a major British manufacturer of public clocks, based in Leeds.

Robert Potts was apprenticed to a clockmaker in Darlington in 1790. His son, William Potts, set up his own clockmaking business in 1833 in Pudsey, West Yorkshire. After an initial period of making domestic clocks of every type, the business expanded into the manufacture of turret clocks for churches and public buildings and it became necessary to move to Guildford Street in Leeds in 1862. The business expanded in jewellery and silverware as well as clocks and watches. A new turret clock factory was opened in Cookridge Street, Leeds and mass produced wall clocks for schools, offices and railways were made in the workshops behind the Guildford Street shop in Butts Court.

Three of William’s sons eventually joined their father in the business and in due course it became known as William Potts & Sons Limited. A further generation joined the business after World War I but their time with the company was short lived as Tom Potts left in 1928 to operate on his own and Charles Potts left in 1930 to set up his own turret clock business at Marshall Mills in Leeds where it remained until the 1950’s latterly under the control of Anthony Potts. The former business of William Potts & Sons Limited was sold to John Smith & Son Limited of Derby in 1935 and has remained a subsidiary company trading in Leeds to the present day.

Source: http://www.jaginfo.org/pottsclocks/ by Michael S Potts: Descendent, collector and researcher of clocks made by the Potts Family

Light Night Leeds will take place on Friday 4 October and is an annual spectacular celebration of Leeds’ creativity delivered by the Arts Development team of Leeds City Council. For one evening, Leeds’ artists and performers pool their talents in the city centre, exhibiting and performing their work in Millennium Square, on the streets, in galleries and in venues not usually open to the public.