01/11/2009
DURHAM LUMIERE
brief
TPS Ross Ashton designed a specially commissioned projection artwork for Durham Cathedral as part of the 4 day "Lumière" Durham Festival of Light event, curated and co-ordinated by Artichoke. Ashton received an initial brief from Artichoke's Helen Marriage and Nicky Webb about the narrative and direction of the show. Taking these as a creative starting point for the storyboard, he then input and developed his own ideas. The story encompassed the history of the Cathedral including the Lindesfarne Gospels, noted for their amazing accompanying imagery and spectacular Celtic calligraphy. These were originated by the Lindesfarne Monks and stored in Durham Cathedral for many years, along with the bones of St Cuthbert which still reside there.
execution
He and Paul Chatfield evolved the PIGI projection artwork over a period of 2 weeks, simultaneously collaborating with musical director Robert Ziegler who compiled a soundscape for the 16 minute show, and sound designer John Del'Nero who designed the audio system. Ashton used material sourced from the British Library and also conducted a photo shoot at the Cathedral to capture all the architectural and structural elements he wanted to incorporate into the show. The projection system utilized 7 x PIGI 6KW machines with double rotating scrollers, positioned at various distances around the Cathedral This was meticulously calculated to eliminate any shadowing from the numerous trees dotted around the Cathedral Gardens - and was also one of the major creative and technical challenges of the project.
results
Ashton comments, "It was a huge honour to be asked to create and present this piece. Durham is one of the country's signature Cathedrals - it's a wonderful site with a fabulously rich history and is a very special location in which to work". This show - which ran 8 times nightly - and the other Lumiere installations involving over 50 UK and international artists, proved a massive success, drawing up to 75,000 people into the City Centre each evening despite some appalling weather! Collectively, they created an imaginative and stimulating environment for the enjoyment and engagement of people of all ages, interests and backgrounds. The Festival of Light will now become a regular event for Durham.

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