Lumiere festivals

The Lumiere festivals will light up both Durham and the UK City of Culture 2013, Derry-Londonderry, using specialist artworks and installations.

Les Voyageurs by Cedric le Borgne at Lumiere in Durham 2011

Works by artists from all over the world will adorn two UK cities this November, making their mark in light on some of the most iconic buildings in each, as part of the Lumiere festivals.

First is Durham’s Lumiere from 14-17 November, which sees the festival return to this beautiful city, having enjoyed success in 2011 (attracting 150,000 visitors). This year, people are once again invited to explore and appreciate the city in a completely new way.

A standout feature will be in the nave of the great Normanesque Durham Cathedral, which is to be filled with a hypnotic installation of ‘dancing’ sparks, giving the appearance of fireflies by French artist duo Astara. Another highlight is by local artist, Sarah Blood, who has created Sanctuary, consisting of 12 neon bird boxes lighting up St Oswald’s churchyard, with background birdsong soundscape.

Between 28 November and 1 December, Lumiere will come to Derry-Londonderry for the first time, rounding off a fabulous year for the UK City of Culture 2013. From 3D projections on Austins Department Store to a 23 metre long neon on the Rosemont shirt factory, the city will be full of light. French sculptor Cédric Le Borgne’s ethereal illuminated sculptures in human form will appear to fly around the Peace Bridge.

Other headline projects include Twice Upon a Time by digital mapping artists Ocubo, who are working with over 100 schoolchildren from across the community to redesign and “take over” Ebrington, turning it into a giant animated dreamworld; French fire alchemists, Compagnie Carabosse, who will transform St Columb’s Park into a fantastical fire garden, and the Paris-based Irish duo Cleary-Connolly with their interactive artwork Change Your Stripes.

“Lumiere is about the unexpected” says Helen Marriage, Artistic Director of Artichoke, the production company behind Lumiere. “Buildings will change their shape and appearance; human forms will seem to fly through the air; parks and empty public spaces will become places where strange and delightful things happen – a fire garden, the remains of a circus, an abstract artwork that comes to life as you walk by. Lumiere is exciting because it invites you to do what you might not normally do – to wander about the city in the dark and feel okay about it; to discover things, feelings and places you didn’t know existed. Lumiere is about changing the way people think about the city and what is possible.”

Have you been to Lumiere? Are you planning to go? Tweet us @BritainMagazine

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