Lumiere Festival in Durham: an increasingly popular attraction

By Bilgi Demirsöz 

From the 12th to the 15th of November, Lumiere light festival descended upon Durham for the fourth time, to create an illuminated wonderland of visual art instillations across the city. An estimated 200,000 visitors were attracted to Durham over the weekend. The very first Durham Lumiere event took place in 2009 and since then, the festival has grown and become increasingly recognised and immensely popular.

The twenty-nine instillations were spread out across the city, with some of the most impressive featuring upon and within the Cathedral and Market Square.

The changing light projections named ‘World Machine’ upon the Cathedral mesmerised visitors, with dramatic music and stunning graphic effects creating scenes of constellations and planets in orbit, to changing seasons and Biblical scenes. The Cathedral ceiling was utilised to project Miguel Chevalier’s intricate and constantly changing ‘Complex Meshes’. The enchanting ‘Garden of Light’ was installed at the back of the Cathedral and created a wondrous walkway back onto the Bailey.

Garden of Light 2On the final night of the festival, one of the main attractions, a projection of a whale in the River Wear, had to be cancelled due to the river levels being too high after the torrents of rain throughout the week.

The Red House 1

Durham’s old Shire Hall became the ‘Red House’ by Patrice Warrener with breathtaking colours which really accentuated the building’s architectural beauty and created an impressive and visually dynamic appearance.

Les Lumineoles

Porté par le vent flew Koi Carp-style balloons named ‘Les Luminéoles’ in the marketplace, which faded into different colours and sublimely glided through the air in a manner which made them an incredibly calming vision to behold.

complex meshesSome of the installations were self explanatory such as ‘Big Knitting’ by Victoria MacLeod near the Gala Theatre, and the recreation of the Cathedral’s Rose Window by Mick Stevenson, which was appropriately named ‘Litre of Light’, and was constructed out of thousands of plastic bottles in the Cathedral courtyard, which Durham University helped contribute to, upon request of the artist.

Durham County Council reported that “Lumiere and Durham have become synonymous – a breathtaking mix of art, science and entertainment – and 2015 has been more spectacular than ever”, which was the consensus among those who attended too, and supported by the reactions shared upon social media.

Photographs: Bilgi Demirsöz 



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