|Artistic Railway Arch|
The railway arches were beautifully lit from underneath in blue and green (why don’t they do that all the time?) and they looked especially jolly when the trains went over them. Roundabouts were illuminated and meaningful messages blazed in the darkness.
This year, to spread the crowds, the festival extended opening times and used a free ticketed system during peak hours in the central area.The Park and ride system was very well organised I have to say, the bus ride in was the easy part.
The artworks apparently included an interactive model of the sun 100 million times smaller than the real thing, by artist Rafael Lozano Hemmer. It was so small, in fact that I missed it completely. No idea where that was.
|Durham Cathedral alight|
My favourite installation was an animation in which LED stick men miners took over what used to be the Durham Miners’ Hall to the beat of a Durham Brass Band. The base of the sculpture was obviously meant to be a mine with coal and steam coming out of it and the figures were cleverly lit in sequence to simulate movement up and down the building to various sound tracks including some recordings from the miner’s strike and finishing with a rousing blast of ‘working in a coal mine.’ It was witty, very cleverly done and had local relevance. Top marks for that one.
|Men at work|
One of the installations featured illuminated shopping bags which made up strings of lights across the shopping arcade street and a plastic bag Christmas tree outside British Home Stores. I think it was something to do with a recycling message. Very pretty.
|Bags of Light|
The festival was commissioned by Durham County Council and sponsored by Arts Council England. It certainly brought lots of people into the city centre and one presumes the restaurants and chip shops and pubs were beneficiaries of all these extra folk milling around with money in their pockets. You have to offset the fun of the light sculptures with the crowds verging on the unpleasant and the organisers shouting at you to ‘keep moving forward’ in a manner more akin to evacuation at a police incident rather than a magical discovery of artistic delight. So would I go again? Maybe I would.
|It’ll be all light on the night..|
|Step away from the rear of the elephant!|