Loomaland Cygnus (UK Premiere)

An image of three fibreglass swans on a lake. They are lit from inside in purple and blue. There are mountains and a sunset in the background.

The UK premiere of Cygnus at Lightwaves Festival, with Submerge commissioned soundtrack by Anil Sebastian

Installation Dates: 3rd – 12th December 2021
Live performance Swan Songs: Friday 3rd Dec 2021

Time: 17:00 – 22:00 GMT
Price: Free

Presented in partnership with Quays Culture and supported by Goethe-Institut London.

Submerge and Quays Culture are proud to present the UK premiere of CYGNUS by Loomaland (Denis Bivour & Florian Giefer) as part of Lightwaves 2021. The work will be accompanied by a live performance of newly commissioned soundtrack Swan Songs (Anil Sebastian).

Lightwaves is an annual 10-day interactive light festival presented at Salford Quays, home of Media City. Each December Lightwaves attracts in excess of 400,000 visitors to explore a trail of illuminated installations that animate and transform the Quays. With a focus on bold new commissions, the festival is proud to support international artists alongside local and emerging talent, with a growing focus on enrichment activity with local communities at its heart.

In early 2021 Submerge commissioned artist Anil Sebastian (Hrím / London Contemporary Voices / Trans Voices UK) to create a new electronic soundtrack for CYGNUS, a hyper-romantic live installation to be performed on water. In CYGNUS, twelve artificial swans begin to glow and start a choreography – a surprising water ballet. Their delicate voices evolve into a poetic field of sound, as the ethereal shimmering birds circle on the water. The swans’ motion is completely autonomous and they coordinate their routes via GPS.

(Continues below)


Submerge seek to create opportunities for artists who are marginalised with contemporary digital and immersive arts, and to ensure that these voices are platformed within creative tech arts and music projects. Anil Sebastian’s emotional and ethereal sound world, extraordinary vocal range and extended vocal techniques allows their music to transcend gender; their use of AI technology to manipulate their already unique voice creates the perfect other-worldly soundtrack for CYGNUS. The installation transports the viewer into the “uncanny valley” where the boundaries between digital imagination and conventional reality become blurred.

The installation challenges traditional viewing habits and raises interesting questions in the dawning age of robots: will we preserve nature, or will future generations create their own digital creatures? What will be the role of romanticism, which seems so deeply rooted in human nature? Is it only a fragile marginal phenomenon of an epoch that will soon be forgotten? Or will romanticism make the leap into a digital future? And if so, how might romantic images appear in this future?

The commissioned suite of music “Swan Songs” will be performed live as part of the Lightwaves launch on Friday 3rd December, and will subsequently feature as the onboard sound for the installation, which runs from 3rd to 12th Dec.

CYGNUS was created by Denis Bivour and Florian Giefer (Loomaland.com). Denis Bivour, pixel tamer and 3D designer, has conceived and designed visuals for numerous live events worldwide. Florian Giefer, of the film directing duo pet&flo, is a specialist for 2D and stop-trick animation, motion control and projections.

Swan Songs was commissioned by Submerge (2021) and made possible with support from Arts Council England, Quays Culture and Goethe-Institut London.

Submerge is directed by Mike Pony.