When: 14th – 17th November 2013
What is it?
The third Lumiere festival in Durham will take place from 14th to 17th November. The popular festival will feature an interactive model of the sun 100 million times smaller than the real thing, illuminated stickmen invading the former Miners’ Hall and dancing sparks and shafts of light filling Durham Cathedral.
Lumiere will weave a nocturnal art trail through the city, engaging with its architecture, inviting the audience to explore urban landscapes, and challenging how people think about and use public space. From the most simple intervention to the latest technology, the festival celebrates the myriad ways that international, UK and local artists and designers use light to make art.
The Lumiere 2013 programme will include an interactive model of the sun exactly 100 million times smaller than the real thing, by the Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano Hemmer; Elephantastic, a giant 3D promenading elephant by French design studio Top’là; and Glasgow artist, Nathan Coley’s found word sculpture, A Place Beyond Belief, based on testimony from 9/11.
A new Lumiere commission from French artist collective Groupe LAPS will feature the company’s signature “stickmen” made from LED tubes, who will “take over” the former Durham Miners’ Hall in North Road, in a story which will trace the building’s historical evolution from miners’ hall to nightclub.
French artist duo Atsara will fill the nave of Durham Cathedral and the gardens behind it with a glittering and hypnotic installation of dancing sparks and shafts of light resembling fireflies appearing and disappearing into the dark. In the Cathedral Cloisters, Korean artist Taegon Kim’s Dresses will form a ghostly trio of larger-than-life garments that shimmer and shift in colour.
Other installations will include Fête by Ron Haselden, and El Sol, a musical campsite by artist collective Het Pakt. Volume Unit, an interactive “jukebox” projected onto the front of the NS&I building, is a new commission from the Media Workshop. Following its success in 2011, Tobie Langel’s Helvetictoc, the computerised clock that projects approximate times, is making a welcome return, this time to Clayport Library.
For the first time artworks will be located at Durham University’s Science site at Mountjoy. Solar Equation is a giant sun by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Featuring the world’s largest spherical helium balloon, this will be the first time the work has been seen in the UK. Live mathematical equations will generate an infinite variety of solar animations simulating the turbulence, flares and sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun.
Gina Czarnecki’s collaboration with Professor of Biophysics John Girkin uses equipment more usually used by the security services to create a beautiful, dynamic work featuring irises projected onto the façade of the Bill Bryson Library. Audiences are invited to interact by having their own iris scanned.
Several works in the festival will touch on science, nature and the environment. Platonic Spin by British sculptor Nathaniel Rackowe is a series of interlocking rectangles made from glowing wires that build to form a dodecahedron, a fundamental building block of the universe. Two works by French artists Maro Avrabou and Dimitri Xanakis, Greenhouse Cars and Guardian Angels, use hyper-real and kitsch interpretations of nature to highlight our impact on the environment.
The Consumerist Christmas Tree by Spanish underground art collective Luzinterruptus will create a giant Christmas tree made from recycled plastic bags filled with light. Calling attention to our wastefulness, the project invites people to contribute their used plastic bags and help make the decorations for this new take on the traditional tree.
Lumiere Durham this year is supporting a campaign that has revolutionised people’s lives in parts of the world where electricity is either not accessible or affordable. Litre of Light has brought light to thousands of people all over the world, thanks to a new technology developed at Harvard University creating simple light-bulbs from one-litre plastic bottles, water and chlorine. In Durham local residents and school children will be able to create their own bulb and install it in a windowless building designed and built by Durham artist and builder Mick Stephenson.
Lumiere will also be showcasing artworks by local creatives. Visitors arriving into Park and Rides at Sniperly, Howlands and Belmont will be greeted by Twist Design’s Stained Glass Cars. Stuart Newby’s Infinity Pools at the Gates Shopping Centre dares the audience to step into what appear to be bottomless pools. Beth J Ross’s three neon text pieces are based on the 11th Century Durham Proverbs and rendered in child’s handwriting, and will be installed at three different sites around Durham. Sarah Blood’s Sanctuary, consisting of twelve neon bird boxes and a soundscape of birdsong will be situated in St Oswald’s Churchyard.
Lumiere has worked with offenders in prisons for each festival in Durham. The Other Side of the Wall is this year’s project and has embraced all four prisons in County Durham. Artists have worked with over 100 prisoners, with each being invited to fill two Perspex boxes, one representing the past, and one the future. The boxes will be displayed together to form a huge illuminated wall in the Galilee Chapel inside the Cathedral, with smaller walls being exhibited inside each of the prisons.
More info: www.lumiere-festival.com