Preparations are in full swing to transform Durham for this year’s Lumiere light festival spectacular.
From interactive displays to awe-inspiring pieces in the sky, 29 artworks will take over Durham City for the four-day festival which runs from November 16-19.
At St Oswald’s Church in the city, University of Sunderland students have joined volunteers to help install What Matters, two immersive light and glass installations which depict the birth of light in the universe.
Hours of pain-staking work has gone into creating 2,000 glass shards representing the fragments of the galaxy after the Big Bang which will be suspended in the church, while giant glass bubbles will be hung in the churchyard to represent what happened before the Big Bang.
The large-scale piece, which has been a year in the making, is the brainchild of London-based artists Ed Shuster and Claudia Moseley.
Inspiration for the piece came from Ed’s PHD on philosophy of technology and cosmology and the pair decided to create a piece to depict the evolution of the universe.
Ed said: “A lot of our recent work has been about the role of glass in technology and science. Glass lenses are the medium through which we understand the nature of space and time. So that relationship between glass and light is elemental.
“We were also inspired after seeing this church. Churches have a long history of stained glass, which changes colour as the light shines through. So the piece is a representation of old church architecture and our contemporary view of cosmology.”
The artists worked with the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University and the National Glass Centre to help create the installation.
Glass bubbles were then blown at a glass studio in Wiltshire before being broken and transported to Sunderland’s National Glass Centre where they were drilled and made ready to be hung from the church ceiling.
Claudia said the artists were delighted to be part of Lumiere for the first time, a festival which will be held in Durham for the fifth time after it captured the imaginations of the world when it made its debut in 2009.
She said: “It’s an amazing opportunity for people to see something which brings together international artists in Durham. Everyone we’ve spoken to here is really excited about it.”
Sienna Shaw, 21, who is studying glass at University of Sunderland, has been involved in helping to bring the piece to life for the past two months.
She said: “I saw the last Lumiere two years ago, which was amazing, but to be part of it this year is really special. It’s a great opportunity for a student to see what goes into a project like this and it’s something I’d wish to do myself in the future.”
*All tickets for Lumiere 2017 have now gone. But you don’t need a ticket after 7.30pm or anywhere outside the central area at any time. More than half of the installations are outside the area.
Highlight installations located outside the ticketed area include:
What Matters at St Oswald’s Church
Cosmic Architecture: a video and sound piece that salutes the extraordinary achievement of architect Daniel Libeskind’s building for the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics, celebrating the marriage of revolutionary architecture with the beauty of the theoretical models and computer simulations of the Universe that are developed within the building.
Fire Tornado: created by artist Ivo Schoofs, the piece is inspired by the sight of a tornado raging through a forest fire, spectacularly elevating the blaze to new heights. The installation replicates this effect and banishes the wintry darkness through both heat and light.
Heron: a homage to one of our most magnificent English birds, often seen along the banks of Durham’s River Wear. Created by Jon Voss the work celebrates the beauty of nature in the heart of the city.