NEWS: Lumiere 2021 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Imminence, Novak, Bloomberg Arcade, 2019, commissioned by produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matt Crossick

The UK’s largest festival of light, Lumiere, returns to Durham with an ambitious programme of installations from Thursday 18th-Sunday 21st November.

Transforming the city into an interactive sensory experience, work will be on display from a diverse, international roster of artists, with many of the installations addressing overarching issues including the pandemic, climate change and environmental impact, in often quiet and poignant ways. Of particular note, Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho’s vivid Lines stretches across the riverbank to highlight the catastrophic impact of rising seas; in North East-based Novak collective’s sound and light installation Imminence, animated scenes of the consequences of climate change unfold, depicting deforestation, bee extinction, coral bleaching and global warming, providing a sobering reminder of the dire predicament we find ourselves in.

Among numerous returning favourites, other highlights include a collaboration with New Writing North and Durham University in which commissions from 10 UK poets including Kae Tempest, Kayombo Chingonyi, Selina Nwulu and Michael Rosen will be projected onto the walls of Durham Castle; Halo, a musical sculpture activated by touch courtesy of France’s Illumaphonium; In Our Hearts Blind Hope, projected onto Durham Cathedral, will be an immersive reflection of the darkness and loss we have endured, by Hungary/UK-based Palma Studio; video-mapped projection Chronos takes the viewer on an audio-visual voyage; France’s Groupe LAPS bring an LED rock ‘n’ roll band, The Froggs, to the Market Place for an all-night performance; and Tony Heaton’s neon pink A Larger Ripple is humorous, political and subversive. Community-led works include Article 12, referencing the UN Convention on the Human Rights of the Child, neon-lit text artworks celebrate the voices of local young people.

For the first time, works will also light up landscapes across County Durham in celebration of the county’s place on the UK City of Culture 2025 longlist, with installations appearing at Raby Castle, Finchale Priory, Penshaw Monument, Seaham Marina, Ushaw and Apollo Pavilion.

Lumiere 2021 will also feature the first ever artwork hosted online. Tree of Hope is designed as a moment of reflection; visitors contribute their hope for the future and then see the moving image of a sapling blossom in real time with each new idea.

Lumiere 2021 takes place in Durham City and locations across the county from Thursday 18th-Sunday 21st November

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