14 November 2011

Hi-Lights at LUMIERE Durham 2011

In November 2011, Durham City Centre was transformed as LUMIERE festival returned following the success of the 2009 event. With 35 different artworks, including some specially commissioned for the festival, the city was lit up and turned into a visually spectacular winter wonderland. Produced by Artichoke, a registered charity whose main goal is to take the arts from behind closed doors and out to the public, LUMIERE is a great opportunity to showcase the historic city of Durham in a different light.

Having been involved in the first LUMIERE in 2009, Hi-Lights took on a much larger role in 2011, as managing director, Martin Warden was appointed to be technical director for the festival. Martin was also able to showcase his talent as a lighting designer, with complete artistic control on the lighting of the Viaduct and three bridges; the Elvet Bridge, Framwellgate Bridge and the Pennyferry Bridge.

With technical control over a number of the installations throughout the festival, in the weeks leading up to LUMIERE there were many visits to Hi-Lights from artists to make sure that their work was correctly interpreted and could be delivered to give maximum impact when on site. The design and manufacture of ‘LightWriting' by Richard Wolfstrome and Ira Lightman was done entirely by Hi-Lights technicians. ‘LED's Dance' by Dorota Kraft was another project worked on by Hi-Lights who were tasked with the challenge of designing, providing and building the truss structure and lighting design for the interactive piece. Local duo Dan Ziglam and Elliott Brook who run design studio Deadgood worked with Hi-Lights to produce ‘Rainbow' (pictured).The piece was their successful entry in the ‘brilliant' campaign, run by NewcastleGateshead Initiative and the Northern Rock Foundation to allow local people the opportunity to show an original artwork as part of LUMIERE. In addition to providing the equipment and installation on the bridge, Hi-Lights also took care of the technical design.

Less prominent although still vitally important, Hi-Lights were also responsible for the design and supply of power generation for the entire festival. A logistical challenge due to the large site, the requirements of each individual installation had to be taken into account, with miles of cable laid all over the city.

Reactions following the festival were fantastic, with a report in The Guardian stating that ‘there were many marvellous things to see in Durham' and the Daily Mail describing it as ‘a spectacular sound and light show'.