Bootle and Southport Town Hall were lit up with animations of clapping

Bootle and Southport Town Hall were lit up with animations of clapping

by Danielle Thompson (May 2020)

BOOTLE and Southport Town Hall were lit up with animations of clapping last night during Clap for Carers.

The an animation of clapping hands has been seen on many of the iconic buildings from Edinburgh Castle to the Baltic Newcastle – and on May 21, both of the Towns Halls glowed bright with a simple light installation by Yorkshire born, London based artist Ian Berry.

Ian Berry, originally from Huddersfield, made an applause animation from two pieces of art combined to make an animation showing the clapping motion. Ian is known worldwide for his art in denim and it is with this material in which he made them, in a fitting health care blue.

Sefton Council and Ian Berry worked together to bring this together, topically on a Thursday night. His sister Fiona lives in Birkdale and came to watch.

The pieces of art are now showing up on cities all over the world, from Newcastle to New York. They are also lighting up the length and breadth of the country, from John o’ Groats in the North to Portsmouth in the South, with a series of networks of projectionists – like Andrew Hall - who has many friends and clients around the country.

The batman like beam has also been spotted in East London where Ian now lives and works from his studio. He was moved by the clapping, at 8pm on Thursdays in the UK weekly event. His son couldn’t wait for Thursdays to come ‘is it Thursday yet?’ and preparing for it and even turned the light blue.

It was his son Elliott, six, who took the photo of his hands as he was being home schooled. Ian sent it on as like a greeting card to say thank to some of his friends in the health service, many who had been sick. While watching a film on a projector it was Elliott that said, can we put the clapping on there? Soon they were beaming it off the balcony and an idea was born.

It's now on electric billboards and being captured by drones in Sweden, opening the Autocinema Coyote in Mexico City and playing in Greensboro, North Carolina, aka ‘Jeansboro’, and Medellin in Colombia famed for Narcos.

Ian wants people to highlight their friends, family or organisations they clap for.

He said: “When my friend who works at Leeds LGI was sick, I would send her the videos of the clapping in my area that was so loud. I made the hands a five weeks ago while she was at home sick. There’s already been hundreds of reactions to the question, and some will get beamed on futures projections to give thanks to those we clap for.

“Of course the streets are pretty empty so it’s good to get some somewhere where people can see from home or frontline workers can see as they go past. We shouldn’t forget all what these people have done. Telling my son what the clapping was for and explaining individuals like his auntie who is on the corona team in Lund Hospital in Sweden and him having his new heroes.

“While clapping is a nice gesture, and has brought many communities together, it is noted they need money and support. Let’s use this platform to try and raise some money for the NHS Charities Together and a platform for good, like making the projections into projected art galleries inviting more artists.”

A spokesperson for Sefton Council added: “We are very excited to be the first area in Merseyside region to be showing this powerful piece by Ian Berry, especially as it has been shown across the world.”

Photographs by Angus Matheson of Wainwright & Matheson Photography.

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