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Light up the New Year with Factory International


Artist's impression of the installation
Artist's impression of the installation

Manchester will blaze in the New Year with a spectacular art installation that will light up the night sky from new cultural centre Factory International.

Each evening from January 1-29 2023, between 4pm-10pm, First Breath will cast powerful beams of light into the clouds to celebrate new life. The lights will gently pulse to represent the first breaths of babies born that day in Greater Manchester.

Viewers will be able to get up close to the artwork, walking in and around the lights, as well as being able to witness it from vantage points across the area. Access will be free, on Water Street at the bottom of Liverpool Road.

First Breath is being created by artist Luke Jerram, whose Museum of the Moon has been experienced by more than 20 million people worldwide, while his giant 10 metre Floating Earth was seen by thousands in Media City in Salford and Wigan in 2021.

Jerram said: "I want to reveal, celebrate and connect the hidden community of people giving birth each day in Greater Manchester – over 70 babies are born in the city each day. This new artwork is designed to celebrate the moment a child is born – the extraordinary moment when they take their first breath."

First Breath takes place in what will be a new public space at Factory International which will open next June with a year-round programme of free events and activities programmed by the team behind the Manchester International Festival.

Hundreds of babies born in January 2023 will also receive lifetime membership to Factory International – providing priority booking, discounted tickets and exclusive invitations to everything from exhibitions and concerts to family performances and workshops.

Artistic director of MIF and Factory International, John McGrath, said: “We’ll celebrate new beginnings with a beautiful public artwork projected from the site of our future home. As we welcome hundreds of new-borns into the world through Luke’s light sculpture, we will also be breathing life into our new building and, we hope, setting in motion a fruitful life-long relationship with a new generation."

Expectant parents due in January 2023 from all backgrounds and pregnancy journeys can sign-up to First Breath here