Last Friday K and I visited the Lumiere London Festival at Kings Cross. I like the idea of lightscapes – especially those that turn one thing into another. Do you remember the Queens Golden Jubilee where Buckingham Palace was transformed into a simple street through light projection? Here are a few images from the event.
This type of event is clever because of its immateriality – once the day breaks everything is back to normal and in that sense in reminds me of the feeling when you wake up to a snow covered landscape. This seems very different from the photographer who reveals different landscapes by presenting them through the lens. For example, Naoya Hatakeyama’s Slow Glass is transformative but not transient. Then there are others like Lis Rhodes whose Light Music projections not only transform place but wholly disorientate and reorientate the visitor. Both Lumiere and Rhodes use sound to help the transformation whereas Hatakeyama’s images are silent.
Just imagine using projectors in a large darkened room to fully reorientate the viewer to my final exhibition. What fun I could have.
The viewing experience was far from pleasant though: the crowds were too great for much of the area and there was little crowd control. This meant that much of my time was spent fending off people who were walking with their camera phones looking up and stumbling over me. My experience appeared to be echoed on twitter on the Saturday night (#LumiereLDN) where the crowds became so dense some of the light exhibits were turned off.
Yet I saw none of the event reported on the mainstream news. It was only really talked about in any depth on the internet (with a great article on London’s first electric light festival in 1848 here). This is where the net really excels – twitter giving real time news feeds and dedicated local websites like Londonist beating the mainstream news every time.