Factory towers of light

Published: 20 November 2022
Reporter: David Upton

Artist's impression of the installation Credit: Lee Baxter

This is how Luke Jerram’s new public artwork First Breath will look on the banks of the River Irwell outside Manchester’s Factory International, ahead of the opening of the new cultural space in June.

Each evening from January 1–29 between 4 and 10PM, First Breath will cast powerful beams of light up 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. Audiences will be able to get up close to the artwork, walking in and around the lights, as well as witnessing it from vantage points across the city.

First Breath is being created by world-renowned artist Luke Jerram whose Museum of the Moon has been experienced by more than 20 million people worldwide and his giant 10m Floating Earth was seen by thousands in Media City in Salford and in Pennington Flash near Wigan in 2021.

Programmed by the team behind Manchester International Festival, Factory International will be a global destination for arts, music and culture, commissioning and presenting a year-round programme by leading artists from across the world.