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Lumiere Durham, 17-20 November 2011

The LUMIERE festival in Durham is the UK’s largest light festival with more than 30 British and international artists working with light. From dramatic installations, vast animated projections and human rivers of light, to quieter, more subtle interventions on buildings, streets and bridges, LUMIERE will create art lightworks along a city-wide nocturnal trail. Produced by Artichoke, who specialise in live theatrical street spectacle, the city will be transformed with a fire garden in and around Durham Cathedral, an equestrian snowdome in Market Square, and a bridge turned into a waterfall.

Highlights include: French fire alchemists Compagnie Carabosse who have created Spirit, an installation inside Durham Cathedral and its grounds. Spirit takes the form of a journey through the Cathedral lit by candles, lanterns, lighted threads and beacons with a giant lighted sphere hanging in the Cathedral Crossing. Lanterns made from the vests traditionally worn by miners will decorate the Nave and the garden will have garlands of flamepots, boilers and fire-filled structures. The piece will come to life each night as one by one the candles are lit, recalling the medieval tradition of the lighting of the Paschal Candle, which in Durham was a structure so high as to reach to the Cathedral ceiling. Ross Ashton’s Crown of Light, which will transform the Northside of the Cathedral into a vast animated canvas. The son et lumière brings together pages from the Lindisfarne Gospels with images of ancient artifacts from inside the Cathedral accompanied by a soundscape by Robert Ziegler and John Del’Nero. Peter Lewis and Morecambe-based engineering firm Water Sculptures have created Splash, an illuminated curtain of water falling continuously from the Ove Arup designed Kingsgate Footbridge across the River Wear. French artist-architect Jacques Rival’s I Love Durham is a giant snowdome in the style of a traditional souvenir, which will completely encase the equestrian statue of the Marquess of Londonderry in the Market Square. Neon lightworks by Tracey Emin, Martin Creed, Claire Fontaine and Tim Etchells will be strategically placed on significant buildings around the city. Light works will also appear in the city’s parks and gardens and along river banks and rooftops. In Wharton Park, Ron Haselden will show Brothers and Sisters, a series of light sculptures based on drawings by children of their classmates. Cédric Le Borgne’s eerily-lit figures will perch on top of buildings and float high above South Bailey, while a supersize Anglepoise lamp by Edmund Francis will illuminate the view from a lookout point near the railway station.

Event: But Is It Art? Saturday 19th November. Chaired by Sarah Weir, who commissioned the public art on the Olympic park site for London 2012. A series of talks, debates and children’s events accompanies the festival including a discussion about Art, Science and Belief, as part of the Lux Scientia collaboration between LUMIERE and light festivals in Poland and Estonia.

Images: Ross Ashton, Crown of Light; Photon, Field, from Lumiere, 2009.


About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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