Review: ‘Life’ by Luxmuralis


Life by Luxmuralis adorned the inside of Durham Cathedral from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th October earlier this month. Thousands of visitors flocked to the UNESCO World Heritage Site over five evenings to experience this 45-minute miraculous audio-visual installation.

As part of a national tour of a handful of cathedrals, Durham was the final destination of the display following on from St Albans, Salisbury, Exeter and Rochester. The intention of Life was to provide people with a contemplative experience, enabling them to explore and contemplate their own spirituality. Luxmuralis’ main aim as a creative team is to take visual art international, to public places of significance such as cathedrals and castles.

Luxmuralis will return to Durham Cathedral in 2023

The idea behind Life was to take the visitor on a visual and aural adventure from sunrise to sunset, venturing through the beauty of the planet, seeing the sun, oceans, and clouds. Within the cathedral, after entering through the grand North Door, we were directed through a one-way system around the cathedral, solidifying the chronology of the concept.

One of the most astounding aspects of the project was the way in which the sandstone interior of Durham Cathedral was transformed into a magnificent explosion of colour, light and life. These dazzling projections on the ancient Norman architecture brought elements of the natural world to life and gave visitors a chance to pause to reflect. However, it also underlined our collective responsibility to protect the fragility of both our natural world and historic buildings, such as Durham Cathedral.

The artist responsible for the visual imagery of Life is Peter Walker, the lead artist and artistic director of Luxmuralis. Although his artistic endeavours mostly take the medium of digital projections, his work also consists of large-scale sculptures paintings and drawings.

Projections accompanied by a visual soundscape

Within Life, the main attraction was a projection that filled the central aisle of the cathedral. From the vantage point of the central crossing, looking towards the back, the cathedral walls and columns became the canvas on which an awe-inspiring projection took place. This vibrant display incorporated ocean creatures and many other naturalistic motifs and concepts, celebrating our natural world.

However, my favourite space within the cathedral during Life was the projection in the Galilee Chapel, the small vestibule at the back of the cathedral. Within this space, the stories of the Venerable Bede were illuminated telling the story of his life and celebrating the one thousand years since his remains were brought to Durham Cathedral.

All in all, Life by Luxmuralis was an incredible experience and something I had never experienced anything like before. The concept of the project was brilliantly executed and the combination of the stunning setting, the soundtrack and my late-nighttime-slot all coalesced harmoniously to produce a thrilling adventure for the senses. It has also been confirmed by Durham Cathedral that Luxmuralis will be returning to the cathedral next year as part of their next tour.


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