Being as we all presumably are, citizens of London, or at least spending a fair bit of time in it, you probably found it hard to avoid mention of ‘Lumiere London’.
Boasting its title as the first ever London Light festival of this size, it was, at least for us, impossible to see it all. But much like Fringe Festivals from Brighton to Edinburgh – seeing it all is not the point. In fact, one could argue that individual works all work together to create the main work, the atmosphere and the newfound appreciation and view of familiar spaces and buildings.
But I digress.
We started at Piccadilly Circus (walking down towards Green park) and made our way under the huge floating fish kites. They must have been almost 10 metres long, made of a white translucent nylon reinforced by hoops every couple of metres along the body. They floated, bobbed and weaved through the air only 6 or so metres up at their lowest – low enough for their long tails to be within reaching distance for the tall. Their bodies also glowed from the coloured lights on the hoops and head, which added to the exotic soundscape was pure magic to the mingling crowd below.
There were a few other works we saw of note, but I encourage you to find as many images and listings as you can, it being over now.
There was the elephants rear and front, projected onto either side of a skyway just off Piccadilly. ‘The Travellers’ was endlessly beguiling and rewarded the keen eyed with some very strategically placed statues – the work consisted of human wire frame figures flying, perched or lying on roofs and fountains, and they all shined with hundreds of ephemeral, ghostly lights.
I am aware of the politics around a public art event such as this, but this is not the time to go into it.
However, I will say that ‘Plastic Islands’ by Spanish Art Collective Luzinterruptus was incredibly either fitting or hypocritical as a choice to include. It fitted right into their distinctive style I latter found through research; expansive, charged, visually arresting.
Fitting as a demand that the viewer confronts the human impact of plastics and waste disposal on the otherwise idyllic, and encourages the viewer to look again at the issue with new eyes; but perhaps hypocritical thanks to the amount of energy it took to power the whole festival for the 3 days it was on! (perhaps a moot point)
Regardless, the festival – or what we saw of it – was fantastic, I hope you saw it and I realise it’s too late now if you didn’t.