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LUMIERE returns to Durham

7 September 2011 16.30 BST

(UK) - UK's largest light festival returns to Durham this winter with 30+ installations including works by Tracey Emin and David Batchelor.

Artichoke, producers of extraordinary events, today announced the first details of LUMIERE 2011, the world-class biennial festival that celebrates artists working with light in all its forms. Over four nights, 17-20 November 2011, Durham residents and visitors will rediscover a city transformed into a magical nocturnal landscape. Artichoke has been commissioned to deliver the festival by Durham County Council, with funds from Arts Council England and a panoply of other funding bodies and sponsors. LUMIERE is the largest light festival in the UK focusing on works created by artists.

In 2009, the inaugural LUMIERE festival drew an estimated 75,000 people into the city, and generated some £1.5million for the local economy. For LUMIERE 2011, festival producers Artichoke will bring together a beguiling mix of international, national and local artists and designers, all using the medium of light to create artworks to delight, surprise, and stop people in their tracks. Over 30 artworks will be situated all over the city, and the Festival will include a programme of talks, lectures and lighting demonstrations.

Participating artists include Cedric Le Bourgne, Tracey Emin and David Batchelor. French artist Le Bourgne creates eerily-lit sculptures in human form that will be seated on top of buildings and hang suspended in the air as if in flight. The Festival will open with a lantern parade through the streets of the medieval city created by Jo Pocock and her Liverpool Lantern Company in collaboration with 200 schoolchildren from all over County Durham.

Back by popular demand will be Ross Ashton's Crown of Light, originally commissioned as the centrepiece for LUMIERE 2009. The piece, a huge projection that transformed the entire 120m span of Durham Cathedral into a vast animated screen, brings together the illuminated manuscripts of the Lindisfarne Gospels with ancient stained glass and artifacts from inside the Cathedral itself. The 12-minute animation is accompanied by a sound installation by Robert Ziegler and John Del' Nero.

The festival includes four pieces created by artists from the North East as part of Brilliant, an initiative funded by the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and Northern Rock. The successful four projects were chosen from over sixty proposals and include a piece by local artists Bethan Maddocks and Verity Quinn that will be created in collaboration with mining communities to recreate traditional pit banners using fibre-optic thread; local builder Mick Stephenson; Dan Ziglam and Elliot Brook of product design agency, Deadgood; and The Global Curiosity Group, a collective led by lecturer Paul Goodfellow, based at Northumbria University.

Science and art will be a theme for this year's festival, as three European artists each team up with a scientist to explore the scientific and aesthetic aspects of light. The collaborations are part of Lux Scientia, a major three-way trans-European artistic collaboration with light festivals in the medieval cities of Torun, Poland and Tallinn, Estonia funded by the European Commission's Culture Fund. Three artists -- one from each country -- have each been commissioned to work with a scientist and create a work of art for the three festivals. Simeon Nelson (UK) is concerned with describing the interaction between mankind and nature through light sculpture. Dominik Lejman (Poland) experiments with 'urban light-painting'; and Leonardo Meigas (Estonia) will explore the scientific phenomenon of the Hartmann Grid.

The new website, launched today, has been built by ID Media and will become a rich, interactive resource, boasting video, audio as well as a mobile version sponsored by Visit County Durham. The full festival programme will be revealed later this Autumn.

Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council said, "At LUMIERE 2009, we saw not only how culture can bring people together but, just as importantly, how events like this can benefit the local economy. And as the countdown to LUMIERE 2011 begins, it is exciting to hear more about how Durham will be transformed by this year's event. I am sure LUMIERE 2011 will further cement Durham's position as a major cultural destination."

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said, "Our support for LUMIERE through our Grants for the arts scheme, will, together with other sponsors and funders bring this exciting event to the north east. The cultural aspirations and ambitions of Durham are reflected in the return of LUMIERE, and will give more people the opportunity to experience great art."

Helen Marriage, co-director of Artichoke and programmer of the festival said: "The hardest part of this job is choosing what to include. There are so many wonderful ideas, from the simplest intervention to the most startling possibilities, and it is a privilege to be able to present the work of so many extraordinary artists who have responded to the beauty of the city and the landscape in which it sits. The full programme will be announced nearer the time, and will include some breathtaking large-scale works."


'Crown of Light' by Ross Ashton, Robert Ziegler and John Del' Nero, for LUMIERE 2009, copyright Jon Gisby

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