Gallery: Lumiere festival of light dazzles Durham

The spectacular show promises visitors "pure joyous fun"

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The Independent Culture

Durham’s dazzling light display 'Lumiere' returned to the city last night for a weekend of lasers, colourful projections and neon artworks.

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The third festival transformed the northern city into a magical wonderland with more than 25 conceptual light installations from around the world dotted around the market place, river and streets.

Artistic director Helen Marriage has promised “high octane excitement with moments of quiet contemplation, sprinkled with pure joyous fun”.

Festival highlights include the larger-than-life 3D "Elephantastic" by French design studio Top’là and "Keyframes", a playful sculpture-animation in which LED stickmen miners take over what used to be the Durham Miners’ Hall to the beat of a Durham Brass Band.

Ross Ashton’s famous "Crown of Light" is back to illuminate the impressive façade of Durham Cathedral, while the interactive "Solar Equation" is a giant animated replica of the sun, exactly 100 million times smaller than the real thing. Using an accompanying iTunes app, viewers can disturb the animation in real time.

Other notable exhibits include Gina Czarnecki’s projected artwork "I", Nathan Coley’s futuristic sculpture "A Place Beyond Belief" and Beth J Ross’ neon proverbs.

Lumiere drew an estimated 150,000 visitors in 2011, bringing economic benefits to the city worth £4.3 million. Even bigger crowds are expected this year, as the festival has extended opening times and introduced a free ticketed system during peak hours.