Durham Lumiere is a festival celebrating light and art. Held every two years, this is the third time Durham has hosted the free event and whilst it’s only on for a few evenings, it’s well worth a visit. If you didn’t get a chance to make it along last week, here’s what was taking place.
In light of the recent Paris attacks, Durham Cathedral was lit in the French tricolour ahead of the display. It was a really supportive gesture and I’m particularly fond of the photo below, not only because it shows support and respect, but because I’ve captured a couple sharing a kiss and there’s a guy to the right wearing a jacket with ‘France’ on the back.
Unfortunately we visited on the final night, Sunday, and due to wind conditions Mysticete wasn’t displayed; it was a whale between Elvet and Kingsgate bridges (from the same company that created the elephant in 2013). Photos I’ve seen online look really intriguing though and perhaps if I’d been along on Friday night (not Saturday as it rained all night and I favoured my pjs over going outside) I could’ve seen it. I would recommend you allow enough time to get around all the displays; whilst they’re within walking distance of parking and public transport, the centre can get very busy. This year they introduced a ticketing process between 4:30 and 7:30pm, though I didn’t get any so I can’t vouch for how successful that was. The market place did seem busy around 7:45pm on Sunday, but that could’ve been because it was the last chance to get around and see everything. Speaking of which, I realised once I got home, there were a few displays I didn’t get to see. At least I can admire the photographs others have taken!
1.26 Durham by the river near Freeman’s Reach was one of my favourite displays. Coloured light was projected onto the fibres suspended over the river. This particular display by Studio Echelman is named after the 2010 Chilean earthquake and tsunami where the strength of the ‘quake sped up the earth’s rotation and shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds.
Cloud is exactly what you think it is; a cloud shape formed from 6000 lightbulbs. It’s interactive as you can switch the bulbs on and off with the switches attached, whilst the cords also look like rain falling from the cloud. Simple idea but effective.
Other displays I enjoyed were Fools Paradise projected onto the castle, a mix of colours and familiar folklore, fables and local history; Neon Bikes, again the colours were changed on this display and The World Machine projected on Durham Cathedral. Every time I’ve been, I’ve really enjoyed watching the display at Durham Cathedral and this one was no different, I particularly liked the references to the stars, solar system and the science undertones.