Lumiere Durham, 12th-15th November 2015
Artichoke’s most ambitious Lumiere festival programme to date


Patrice Warrener (France), The Red House, image © Patrice Warrener

Patrice Warrener (France), The Red House, image © Patrice Warrener

  • Phantasmal fog, floating net sculptures, a colossal whale, and the story of the birth of the Universe amongst this year’s highlights
  • Conference marks UNESCO’s International Year of Light with artists, scientists, visionaries and policy makers from around the world

The fourth Lumiere festival in Durham begins next Thursday, 12th-15th November 2015. Taking place during UNESCO’s International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, Lumiere is commissioned and funded by Durham County Council with additional support from Arts Council England and a raft of sponsors.

The fourth Lumiere festival will see some of the world’s most eminent artists transform Durham City’s unique urban landscape and architecture into a magical nocturnal adventure. Artists include Janet Echelman from the US, Fujiko Nakaya from Japan, Catherine Garret from France, as well as two French pioneers of digital art, Miguel Chevalier and Patrice Warrener.

Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett (Canada) CLOUD, ©Doug Wong

Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett (Canada) CLOUD, ©Doug Wong

Change youy Stripes Lumier Derry 2013

Change youy Stripes Lumier Derry 2013


Amongst this year’s highlights are:

  • Veteran Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya was the first artist to use fog as a sculptural medium, using it for the transmission of light and shadow. Nakaya’s ghostly new work for Lumiere, Fogscape #03238 Durham, will conjure up the spirit of St Cuthbert’s mist, lit by Simon Corder and visible from the South Street side of the river opposite Durham Cathedral.
  • The World Machine is the story of the birth of modern cosmology from the 12th century until the present day, told in a stunning new son et lumiere for the façade of Durham Cathedral. Art collides with science in this daring collaboration between Ross Ashton and world-renowned cosmologist Professor Carlos Frenk of Durham University, with sound designer John del’Nero and composer Isobel Waller-Bridge.
  • Miguel Chevalier’s (France) Complex Meshes references the Op Art movement and artists such as Bridget Riley in this virtual fresco of shifting geometrical shapes that will skim across the famously ribbed vault ceiling of Durham Cathedral’s Central Nave. The carpet of light will twist, move and change in response to the movement of visitors below, accompanied by a score composed by celebrated Italian musician Jacopo Baboni Schilingi.
  • Fool’s Paradise, by Newcastle-based studio NOVAK, draws on fairytales and folklore for a new animation which will be projected onto Durham Castle.
  • Mysticète, a colossal 3-D whale emerging from the River Wear by Top’là Design’s Catherine Garret, the French artist behind Elephantastic in 2013. The lifelike apparition questions the place and future of nature in our societies, the relationship we have with the animal kingdom and with each other.
  • 26 Durham, is a work by US artist Janet Echelman. Based on NASA data from the 2010 Chilean tsunami, which sped up the earth’s vibrations and temporarily shortened the length of the day by 1.26 micro-seconds, this billowing aerial sculpture is constructed from thousands of feet of knotted twine. Beneath the night sky, audiences will be able to manipulate the coloured light projected onto the sculpture, using a specially designed App powered by Atom.
    TILT (France), Garden of Light, 2014

    TILT (France), Garden of Light, 2014

  • Janet Echelman : Studio Echelman (US) 1.26 Singapore_PhotoArneKuilman

    Janet Echelman : Studio Echelman (US) 1.26 Singapore_PhotoArneKuilman

Alongside international artists, County Durham’s residents will be playing a starring role in this year’s festival. Working in collaboration with Lumiere artists locally produced ideas include Home Sweet Home and Precious.

  • Home Sweet Home is a thought-provoking projection artwork featuring Durham residents including those from County Durham Housing Group, Derwentside Homes and the Chester-le-Street area. Made by artist collective Shared Space and Light, the work teases out the hidden and often poignant stories about the place we call home.
  • In a pioneering collaboration using Skype, New Zealand-based art collective Storybox has worked with students over the last six months to make Precious, a projected work that features Durham residents and their most treasured possessions.

The theme for this year’s festival conference is Light, Art, the Universe and Everything. The day-long event on Friday 13th November will bring together some of the most exciting minds in professions as diverse as neurosurgery, international development, art, religion and cosmology, to debate the extraordinary possibilities of light and its future impact on our world. The conference has been granted UNESCO Patronage, the organisation’s highest form of support in recognition of an exceptional activity.

Helen Marriage, Lumiere’s Artistic Director said:

“It is wonderful to be bringing Lumiere back to Durham for the fourth time, all the more so during the UNESCO International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, which has inspired this year’s festival conference.

Lumiere is about transformation. It explores the possibilities of light as art, and how art can be used to change how people think about the city. Its international impact is why we have managed to persuade so many of the world’s most exciting thinkers to come to Durham and speak about light at our conference.

“Durham is where Lumiere began, and it will always feel like home. We’re very grateful to Durham County Council for their pioneering support, and to all our funders and supporters for sharing our belief that art can transform lives.”

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said:

“I am really proud that Durham is the birth place of Lumiere, a truly world class event coming back for the fourth time.

“Not only is it spectacular but it provides a really welcome economic boost for a wide range of businesses from contractors and suppliers to shops, restaurants, hotels and cafes.

“We look forward to welcoming the tens of thousands of people we know will come and to making this the best Lumiere yet.”

Sarah Maxfield, Area Director, North, Arts Council England said:

“I am delighted that the Arts Council is supporting Lumiere again for its fourth festival in the city. This year’s programme includes some renowned international artists and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing how local residents have collaborated with Lumiere artists in Home Sweet Home. The support of UNESCO highlights how significant the festival is both regionally and internationally and its importance in the festival calendar.”


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