Lumiere Durham, 12th-15th November 2015
A mysterious rolling fog is one of 29 installations featured in this year’s Lumiere in Durham, the UK’s largest light festival, which begins today Thursday 12th November and runs through to Sunday 15 November.
The festival is produced by Artichoke and commissioned by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England and a raft of sponsors.
Created by veteran artist, Fujiko Nakaya, Fogscape #03238 Durham snakes its way around the trees beneath the Cathedral overlooking the River Wear.
Fujiko Nakaya is a pioneer of installation and video art in Japan, and was the first artist to use fog as a sculptural medium, interested in its ever-changing form and how it is shaped, moment to moment, by the meteorological and environmental conditions of the place in which it is created.
The Lumiere festival, was first commissioned from Artichoke by Durham County Council in 2009, is now in its fourth edition in the city.
Featuring some of the world’s most eminent artists working with light in all its forms, in 2013 the festival attracted 175,000 visitors bringing economic benefits to the area worth £5.8m.
Amongst this year’s highlights is Catherine Garret’s extraordinary 3D whale, Mysticète, a colossal lifelike apparition breaching in the River Wear.
Garret whose Elephantastic was a festival favourite in 2013, is interested in our relationship with nature and our impact upon it.
Stunning images of the cosmos will be projected onto Durham Cathedral as part of The World Machine, the new son et lumiere created by Ross Ashton, sound designer John Del’Nero, composer Isobel Waller-Bridge with support from Carlos Frenk and Richard Bower, in a unique collaboration between the artists and cosmologists, historians, philosophers from Durham University.
Charting the birth of modern cosmology using computer simulations and images of medieval manuscripts from The Ordered Universe Project at Durham University, The World Machine takes viewers on a journey from the Big Bang to our place in the modern Universe, via the theories of 13th Century Bishop Robert Grosseteste about the evolution of the Universe.
Inside the Cathedral, digital artist Miguel Chevalier plays with the ribbed vault arches of the central Nave, creating a virtual canopy of ever-shifting geometrical shapes that change in response to the movement of visitors below.
Complex Meshes is accompanied by a score, composed by Italian musician Jacopo Baboni Schilingi.
Durham Castle becomes the canvas for Fool’s Paradise, a new commission from Newcastle-based studio NOVAK with a soundtrack by Ed Carter.
The animation re-imagines the castle as a city coming to life on a hill, infused with references to fairytales and local folklore including the Lampton Worm, The Seven Ravens by the Brothers Grimm, and a lone wolf that prowls through the fables of our childhood.
US artist Janet Echelman used NASA data from the 2010 Chilean tsunami to inform the shape of her billowing aerial sculpture, constructed from thousands of feet of knotted twine, suspended over the River Wear.
Beneath the night sky, audiences will be able to manipulate the coloured light projected onto the sculpture, using a specially designed web App powered by Atom.
Other featured artists include Cleary Connolly, Stephane Masson and Phillip Morvan, as well as digital artist Patrice Warrener from France who, inspired by the unusual shade of red of its bricks, uses his chromolithe technique to illuminate Durham’s Old Shire Hall.
Alongside international artists, County Durham’s residents are playing a starring role in this year’s festival.
Spanish artist Daniel Canogar has 250 locals seemingly scrambling up the viaduct arches in Asalto Durham, his new work for Lumiere, which is part public intervention, part video installation.
Working in collaboration with Lumiere artists, locally produced ideas include Home Sweet Home and Precious.
Home Sweet Home is a thought-provoking projection artwork featuring Durham residents including those from County Durham Housing Group, Derwentside Homes and the Chester-le-Street area.
Made by artist collective Shared Space and Light, the work teases out the hidden and often poignant stories about the place we call home.
In Precious, local people talk about the things they treasure, as part of a multi-screen installation projected onto stacked shipping containers.
Made by students at Durham Sixth Form Centre with New Zealand artists, Storybox, Precious was made over a three-month period, using Skype to communicate with Storybox in New Zealand, and finding locals who might be interested in telling the stories of objects that they treasure.
Helen Marriage, Director of Artichoke said:
“I’m so excited to put this new Lumiere programme in front of Durham’s discerning audiences. This is the fourth time that we’ve brought Lumiere to Durham, and each time we try to innovate and bring new parts of this glorious city into the festival. Artists both local and international delight in the opportunities of working with such extraordinary architecture and landscape”
Council Leader, Cllr Simon Henig said:
“We look forward to welcoming everyone to our beautiful city and to them seeing it in a whole new light. Only Artichoke could arrange a whale in the Wear and bring the history of the universe to life at Durham’s spectacular Cathedral. I am not alone in saying, I can’t wait”.