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Lumiere London 2016 was a roaring success. The constantly dry weather experienced during that event made it all the more better. It was cold but the lights more than made up for it. One thing with these light festivals is in my mind I’m comparing the previous eg Lumiere 2016 so that may cloud my opinion, however what I have seen so far of the Lumiere 2018 installations, its a litte on the mediocre side.
The other problem, well not as such but one issue is themes seem to be replicated across London so that sort of weakens the impact. For example Urban Patterns (as well as Horizontal Interference in 2017) at Canary Wharf 2018 are almost the same as the Spectral installation in St James’ Square.
I conducted my first tour by way of the Mayfair, West End and Westminster/Victoria installations though not the entire works in total. One of the first (after having been through Neon Bikes & Bottle Festoon in Brown Hart Gardens and Northern Lights in Grosvenor Square) shown here is the main picture depicting Illumaphonium. Its a dynamic and interactive music installation consisting of more than a hundred illuminated chime bars which respond to touch and emit ever-changing patterns of light and sound.
A very unusual choice for Lumiere London 2018 was the use of Mount Street Gardens. Normally closed at night this secluded & little known park was open for the festival. It had (M)ondes which is a light show beamed onto the rear of properties that border the gardens.
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(M)ondes in Mount Street Gardens, Mayfair
The next was Bough in South Audley Street on the frontage of the antiques, silverware and china store Thomas Goode. with the beautiful Grosvenor Chapel almost taking the limelight away from the installation. Actually it was quite a complimentary paring!
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Bough and Grosvenor Chapel in South Audley Street
Berkeley Square in central Mayfair was the location for just one single installation called Was That a Dream? According to the program it was meant to be birds in the trees and on the rooftops, but there was just the one upon a tree in the centre of the square.
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Was That a Dream? Berkeley Square
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The Royal Academy in Piccadilly with the animated Love Motion
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Harmonic Portal at the rear of St James Church Piccadilly (Jermyn Street.)
Piccadilly wasnt so enamoured as in 2016 when it had the fantastic Les Luminéoles, however Cirque Bijou’s umbrellas quite made up for the deficit. These were a last minute addition so do not feature in the main programme.
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Circus Bijou’s installation is interactive, involving members of the public holding umbrellas and participating with choreographic moves initiated by Circus Bijou’s team. The umbrellas have LEDs and constantly change colour and the choreography is to music.
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Circus Bijou in Air Street, Piccadilly
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At the bottom of Regent Street, practically into Piccadilly Circus and right next door to the huge advertising lights, was Voyage on the old fire station (now Cafe Royal.)
St James’ market had two installations, one being Reflektor and the other Supercube. The latter was a fun installation where various images were depicted. People could look through a view hole to see what was going on within the cube. Unknown to them their image was also being recorded and projected to the outside world!
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Reflektor (top upper left) and Supercube seen in the same view
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Supercube in St James’ market
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Spectral in St James’ Square
Perhaps the highlight for me was Leicester Square. In 2016 it excelled and this year it has too. Entitled Nightlife, a work by British artists Jo Peacock and the Lantern Company, its a large installation featuring animals that usually are active in the hours of dark.
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Leaping hare at Nightlife, Leicester Square
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Fox at Nightlife, Leicester Square
My favourite animals were the frogs and toads. To croak or not to croak as Shakespeare would have said!
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Toad at Nightlife, Leicester Square
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Flamingo Flyaway in Chinatown, also by Lantern Company
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En route to Westminster Abbey was Echelle (above) and Child Hood. The former was set upon the spire of St Martin’s in the Fields church! Quite easy to overlook especially as the latter covered most of Trafalgar Square. I preferred the 2016 installation here which was Luzinterruptus, coloured plastic bottles completely filling the fountains and entailing a commentary on the global scale of plastic waste.
One of the most popular shows was the front of Westminster Abbey. In 2016 it was so popular its back for a second showing, titled The Light of the Spirit Chapter 2.
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The Light of the Spirit (Chapter 2) Westminster Abbey
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The statues/coats of arms (detail) at Light of the Spirit (Chapter 2) Westminster Abbey
Lumiere London 2018 – Thursday 18 – Sunday 21 January