Lumiere London Vs. Winter Lights

This is a spur of the moment type of post; when I end up with lots of images and nowhere to put them. I got reminded about the Lumiere London festival by the advertising on the bold awnings around Kings Cross Station. I had seen pieces of it in previous years but wanted to make a bit of effort to follow the trail this year.

So it turned in to a very cold Friday night excursion starting at Kings Cross and ending at Southbank. I didn’t see everything and missed out West London all together but was interesting just to experience central London with the roads closed and crowds a plenty. Normally that sort of behaviour is reserved for the Queen and the new years days parade. I did like the support from the Major of London but not sure if people really knew what they were looking at. Some people seemed to be excited by the crowd and though London did this every weekend.

So here is what I saw & liked (I saw a lot more but some were hard to capture and others didn’t capture my attention)

ENTRE LES RANGS BY RAMI BEBAWI / KANVA (CANADA)This installation in Lewis Cubitt Park features thousands of illuminated flower-like reflectors as a tribute to fields of wheat that shimmer in the wind as the seasons pass. Read more …
GUARDIAN ANGELS, BY MARO AVRABOU AND DIMITRI XENAKIS’ (FRANCE/GREECE)Watering lanterns stop you in your tracks at the historic Gas Holder no.8, in King’s Cross.Guardian Angels highlights the importance of nature preservation and is an indirect tribute to gardeners. Read more …
HARMONIC PORTAL BY CHRIS PLANTS (UK)Experience a soothing meditation connecting colour, sound, light and texture through this artists new work at St James’s Church, Plant seeks to piece together our fragmented world. Read more …
MY LIGHT IS YOUR LIGHT BY ALAA MINAWI (PALESTINE/LEBANON)Experience moving tales through My Light is Your Light, a tribute from artist to Syrian refugees, in St James’s Churchyard (viewed from Church Place). Read more …
VOYAGE BY CAMILLE GROSS AND LESLIE EPSZTEIN (FRANCE)Follow an extraordinary passage through the years with Voyage, which explores our physical journey through time and space, at Piccadilly Circus. Projected onto the Hotel Café Royal building with a station clock at its centre, which revolves through days and years, hours and minutes.Read more …
CHILDHOOD BY COLLECTIF COIN (FRANCE)Encounter a cloud made up of a large number of luminous balloons, wafting in space, co-produced by La Casemate. The balloons move gently in the wind at Trafalgar Square, introducing an element of chaos into this otherwise meticulously ordered sound and light composition. Read more …
NIGHTLIFE BY JO POCOCK AND THE LANTERN COMPANY (UK)The luminous secret garden plays with the relationship between wild spaces and urban city life, as this busy area is transformed into a space for quiet reflection and a gathering place to celebrate the beautiful and wild. Read more …
SPECTRAL BY KATARZYNA MALEJKA AND JOACHIM SLUGOCKI (POLISH)Examine this colourful cord construction, which is illuminated by night to create a striking spectacle. Spectral is a powerfully poetic installation, where natural and constructed elements combine in St James’s Square.Read more …

THE WAVE BY VERTIGO (DANISH)Laugh, shout, dance, run… Vertigo’s interactive installation The Wave responds, allowing you to co-create the evening’s experience, with a constantly changing pattern of sound and light along Riverside Walkway on the South Bank.Read more …

There were a lot of permanent installations included in the line up and a few repeats from previous years which was a little annoying to find out on route. Also a lot of the central London locations were more about the size wow than the interesting design concept. The app was helpful though for finding your way around and I think a lot of people did enjoy it, particularly the Westminster Abbey installation I managed to miss.

But before I managed to think too deeply on the show, Rosh said to me have you seen the Canary Wharf Winter Lights? So ever the inquisitive cat, the next Friday night I went for another cold walk, around the Winter Light’s festival in the Wharf.

APPARATUS FLORIUS BY TOM DEKYVERE (BELGIUM)Illuminating the trees of Westferry Circus with a multicoloured light installation featuring giant geometric patterns that grow and intersect as you watch.
HALO BY VENIVIDIMULTIPLEX AND FOSFOR DESIGN (NETHERLANDS)See Cabot Square in a new light as a giant Halo seems to levitate above the fountain creating a powerful light experience.
URBAN PATTERNS BY KASJO STUDIO (POLAND)Urban Patterns is a vibrant installation which seeks to explore the surrounding city landscape. Weaved amongst the trees out of hundreds of colourful lines, the installation comes alive when darkness falls using UV light to transform and animate the area.

LIGHTBENCHES BY LBO LICHTBANK (GERMANY)Try out the 10 illuminated, colour changing benches, now a favourite part of Canary Wharf’s permanent collection.
THE CUBE BY OTTOTTO (PORTUGAL)This exploded cube of light symbiotically bonds with the pedestrian bridge at the bottom of cubit steps. During the day it is an intriguing black and white abstract skeleton, but from sunset the faces of this cube reflect and frame the adjacent scenery.

TEMPUS BY BEN ROUSSEAU (UK)A fascinating example of state of the art timepeaces for the digital generation.
REFLECTING HOLONS BY MICHIEL MARTENS & JETSKE VISSER (NETHERLANDS)Experimenting with ephemeral magic of light and movement, the artists stumbled on these creations while experimenting with reflective materials. Long strips of oil like transparent foil combined with simple spinning motors become a visual entity reflecting the lights around them as if they were water drops.
FRACTURE BY JESSICA LLOYD-JONES (UK)Merging art and science, this kaleidoscopic light-wall installation explores energy and optical phenomena through the creative use of holographic colours and patterns that dynamically change when observed from different angles.

FLORA BY PHILIPP ARTUS (GERMANY)In this beautiful interactive installation, abstract lines create complex and delicate shapes which resemble the natural beauty of plants.

So a smaller selection of installations than Lumiere but actually I spent about the same amount of time exploring the installations (travelling around excluded). There was a map and booklet to help you explore the wharf and the signage was pretty on point in terms of way-finding too. I think they missed out on some benefits as most of the wharf closes early so, there were crowds of people wondering what else to interact with. I usually prefer installations that interact with their environment and the backdrop of central London is pretty fantastic to compete with. BUT I think in terms of the installations themselves the Winter Lights was actually better. The concepts and the quality both seemed more thought out, with lots of the outdoor installations being interactive during the day and the night too.

Both festivals had an international selection of artists and some similarities with materials including projections, neon thread and use of sound. So I think smaller is better, when something like Lumiere gets too big the quality shrinks. However will the Wharf Winter Lights repeat a lot of the same installations next year? Well we shall just have to see won’t we.

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