Light in Derry

The news from Derry-Londonderry is that the 4-night Lumiere festival curated by Helen Marriage (LF ’13) was a smashing success, attracting 180 thousand people to see 17 installations around the city, celebrating the power of light. Since Lumiere was held back to back with the Turner Prize exhibition, most British cultural and art officials were there.

Some of the art was playful, other pieces were deadly serious.

Rachel Cooke, writing for the Observer, called Krzysztof Wodiczko's (professor in residence of art, design and the public domain) Public Projection her favorite artwork of the festival, "or at least the one that punched me the hardest in the solar plexus.”

Wodiczko recorded ordinary people talking about the Troubles and projected their testimony from an ambulance, a potent local symbol, onto public buildings. "Public space is only possible if it is a shared space, where different or contested positions and points of view about the past, present and future can be non-violently expressed,” he says.

Viewers were divided about whether the community still needed to hear these stories, but one commenter wrote, "I think it’s good because it separates what the people are saying from the actual person, shifting stereotypes away from the content. It was good to hear everyone’s opinions.  Challenging people doesn’t happen enough especially not within our culture, usually so refined."

Rachel Cooke was not divided in the least. She found the projected words "more powerful than electricity, far brighter than any neon."

Read Rachel Cooke’s review.

Learn more about the Lumiere festival.

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