The fifth edition of Lumiere Durham returns next month – the UK’s largest light festival – offers a public programme of events and installations that illuminate the city in unexpected, spatially resonant ways. Created by Artichoke, an organisation that creates ambitious events, the festival ties into the company’s wider aim to transform the way people respond to their surroundings.
Using the historical landscape as a backdrop, practitioners from the US, Canada, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Finland and the UK offer a view into the future of digitalised worlds. Using lighting design and smartphone technology, amongst heat-sensitive monitors and motion detectors, the installations call upon each spectator as a relevant individual modifier. For example, Cirque Bijou, a contemporary circus company, aim to push the boundaries of street theatre in their practice. The Umbrella Project brings together local communities to create choreography using the LED props. On the move throughout Durham, the group creates a unique footprint – both visibly and thematically – as they flood areas in spontaneous light. Accessible and adaptable, the site-specific piece transforms everyday ephemera into a bold and colourful environment that is suitable for all ages, and offers a platform for social interaction and aesthetic consideration.
Drawing together a multitude of sensory stimuli, the event also offers parallels between light and sound as basic elements of experience and cultural inclusion. Finnish artist Kari Kola’s Frequencies contrasts the natural world through a 360-degree soundscape. Using the riverside as its topography, the work responds to a sense artificial beauty, enhancing the organic path of the river into an ethereal, hyperreal playground. Similarly, Daniel Iregui’s Control No Control manipulates the expectations of sculpture, using geometric patterns to touch base with and alter both visual and aural information. Hailing from Canada, Iregiu foregrounds the importance of the viewer in the reception of the artwork, calling upon fluctuations in movement from those standing near the piece.
Lumiere Durham runs 16-19 November. For a full list of the artworks: www.lumiere-festival.com.
1. Image: Cirque Bijou, The Umbrella Project. Image courtesy of Shambala Festival.