London Lumiere 2018

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London Lumiere returns for its second time in London in order to brighten the dreariest of January days. The January days are dark and cold, and since the country has just finished its holidays, everyone is in need some brightness. This is where London Lumiere comes in; it helps to add some light, colour, and excitement. The first London Lumiere featured in 2016, and I covered it in my post here (London Lumiere 2016). This year's event was announced last summer, and I have been looking forward to it, but due to crowd problems in 2016, the installations have been spread out over a large area, which makes it impossible to see in an evening (unless, perhaps, you have a bicycle). I did try to complete the trails on Thursday evening, but two of the installations were shut early, and I started to struggle with sore feet. So, this year, I had to return to complete the trail on Friday evening.


The areas of the installations included King's Cross, Victoria, South Bank, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, and Soho. I managed to see each installation and document them below. As I've had a busy weekend this weekend and there are a lot of photographs to go to and write-ups to write, I have had to delay my post. However, there's still one more day of the event to see as many light installations as you can.

The Rose (Mick Stephenson with Electric Pedals)
This rose window, located outside Winchester Cathedral in Victoria, is made out of recycled plastic bottles. The sculpture is illuminated when the bicycles around it are cycled, converting human energy into a source of power. In this sense, visitors transform and create the artwork, which makes it special. The only downside is that all of the bicycles have to be pedaled and pedalled agressively in order for the sculpture to be completely illuminated. This was the first installation that I saw for London Lumiere 2018, and it certainly is worth visiting as it is picturesque and interactive.


Lightbench (Bernd Spiecker for LBO Lichtbankobjekete)
The first time that I saw these illuminated benches was in the London Lumiere festival in 2016. Since then, I have seen them at Canary Wharf, where they have been installed permanently. The lightbenches always encourage visitors to sit on them to get photographs as they change a subtle glow from pink, blue, turquoise, yellow, green, purple, and orange.


The Wave (Vertigo)
'The Wave' along the Thames on the South Bank is a walkway consisting of forty triangular gates. As visitors walk underneath these gates and through them, the gates respond with audio and visually illuminate. The artwork is highly interactive and encourages visitors to 'play'. This is one of my highlights of the event.



Reflektor (Studio Roso)
Inspired by art, design, and architecture, 'Reflektor' is a multi-faceted piece suspended two storeys up in mid-air between buildings off St. James' Market. The piece is illuminated from within, casting reflections and shadows on the nearby buildings and ground below. It is an eye-catching piece and one of the most visually-interesting of London Lumiere 2018.



Sixty Minute Spectrum (David Batchelor)
The Hayward Gallery on South Bank is transformed into a work of art with several glowing pyramids placed on its rooftop. The pyramids colours gradually shift in a 60-minute cycle, starting and ending each hour in red. I caught them in dark blue, which then switched to deep purple by the time that I had walked around the opposite side of the building.


The Light of the Spirit (Patrice Warrener)
Westminster Abbey comes to life again through colour during the second installation of London Lumiere. I covered this installation during London Lumiere 2016 (covered here). It quickly became a favourite due to the fact that it photographs very well. This installation is created by using filters of different colours and projecting them onto the facade of the abbey. It highlights the architecture. In fact, sculptures (like the ones on the side of the abbey) were always painted in the past in some parts of the world. This illumination and colour brings the abbey to life in a way that we do not see every day. As always, this is a beautiful piece and is just as stunning as it was two years ago. This year, we also had the bonus of both the west side (the original side) being lit up along with the northern gate, which has been added to the artwork. This is one of the highlights for the second time, so do not miss it.






Child Hood (Collectif Coin)
Trafalgar Square has been transformed into a sea of floating luminous white balloons. This is a simple installation covering a large area with the balloon-spheres glowing and dimming depending on the movements of the wind and kinetic energy around them. The changing of the luminosity of the balloons fluctuates, and the moment is shared by an atmospheric soundscape. Although large on scale and one of the largest in the event this year, I did not feel that this one was memorable.


Flamingo Flyway (Lantern Company with Jo Pocock)
Floating and flapping their way down the streets of Chinatown are a flock of pink flamingos that rise above the crowds. At times, the luminous flamingos interact with the crowds below. Flamingos are migratory birds, and this parallels the ancient migrations of humans across the world a long time ago, and this mimics travel. The colourful birds also naturally fit into Chinatown, so this is well-placed.



Spectral (Katarzyna Malejka and Joachim Slugocki)
This installation is created using lights and coloured threading to create sharp angles and shapes. This artistic duo created a similar piece for Canary Wharf's Winter Lights in 2016, which I covered here. The horizontal lines provide a stark contrast with the nature elements of Grosvenor Park, illuminated with bright colours. It is a striking piece that bends itself around the trees in the park. It's a little under-whelming when entering from the western gate, but entering from the eastern gate is more of an immersive experience.


Frictions (Mader Wiermann)
This projection onto a building on Regent Street explores architecture, and it is set to a soundtrack. The artist has uses geometric shapes to manipulate the building's fabric. These patterns and shapes create an illusion to make it appear as though the building is actually moving. 


Echelle (Ron Haselden)
A simple pink ladder is the subject of this installation. The ladder is a means of escape, but it also allows the viewer to climb high. The ladder is placed onto the spire of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square.


Supercube (Stephane Masson)
'Supercube' is a highly interactive installation that will appeal to people who enjoy social media and documenting their life through selfies. The installation is a cube filled with rows of glass jars on three of the sides, and these jars have images projected onto them. Music with lyrics is played, and I heard English being played in one visit and French in a second visit. The song was sang in a catchy-but-naive tone and talked about people going to university and coming out "all the same", but it also celebrated individuality (or people obsessed with selfies) by giving the viewer the chance to look into a camera and have their photograph projected into the jars and into a larger jar on the opposite side. This is actually a fun installation and captured a lot of interest, so this is not one to miss.



Footfalls for Rambert (David Ward)
David Ward and Rambert's company of dancers collaborated on this artwork. The artwork features photographed images of a dancer's feet and the relationship of the foot to the surface. These are shot individually and then animated.


Harmonic Portal (Chris Plant)
Colour, sound and shape come together to create this 'portal' projected onto a brick wall. Three of these portals were located on Jermyn Street behind St. James' Church, and I missed them the first night because the app erroneously listed them as located in the church. These installations were hyptnotising and used the texture of the old bricks as a part of the artwork. They gradually cycle through different colours with a consistent humming sound.




Asalto London (Daniel Canogar)
A building in Victoria has several large people scaling up it to reach the top. Do not worry for these are merely illuminated people projected onto the scaffolding of the building. The video plays recordings of people crawling to mimic the climb to the top, and some help each other while others carry a baby. The delay on this illumination is a little too long to wait, and I found the scenes to be very repetitive.


Be Faithful To Your Dreams (Tracey Emin)
Tracey Emin brought The Connaught Christmas Tree (covered here) to life last year with her neon phrases, and she had used neon as a medium again for this London Lumiere 2018 installation above the doorway into St. James' Church. This is an inspiring phrase that everyone should follow to realise their full potential. The work is similar to London Lumiere 2016's neon sign installation by Beth J. Ross, which was placed at the entrance of the nearby arcade.


Thames Pulse (Jason Bruges)
A permanent exhibition, 'Thames Pulse' is located on the Sea Containers building along the South Bank (next to Blackfriar's Bridge). The art installation uses data obtained from the river to reflect the health of the river, which is then portrayed via the lights on the building (the hotel). Its purpose is to highlight water conditions and environmental causes.


Voyage (Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein)
The journey through time and space is illustrated in this animation projected onto a building at Piccadilly Circus, which has a Victorian and time travel theme. It is beautifully created, showing stars, clocks, moving gears, historical landmarks, and cityscapes. I loved the "steampunk" feeling of this piece with its clocks and Eiffel Towers. Beautifully created and accommpanied by its own reflective and melodic soundtrack, it is one of the highlights of London Lumiere 2018.




Control No Control (Daniel Iregui)
'Control No Control' is an interactive experience with sound and LED lights positioned onto a cube. Visitors can use their body to manipulate the graphics produced to create different shapes and patterns. The cube has different geometry and pattern sequences that it cycles through, giving users the option to create their own interpretation.


Lampounette (TILT)
The desk lamp is now portrayed in giant form, adding colour and a sense of space to the street; it also reminded me of the logo for a popular animation film studio. The light emitting from the lamps gradually changes to become a new bright colour, such as blue, green, pink, red, yellow, or turquoise. These lined the pathway from King's Cross to Granary Square and were difficult to photograph with the crowds. For Lumiere London 2016, this group were responsible for bringing Leicester Square to life by transforming it into a garden.


A-BIT Immersive (Imagination London)
Inspired by 8-bit games of the 1980s is this "ping pong" game projected onto a building on Store Street. A round dot is the ball, and the object of the game is to block it from going past the outter extremities of the projection. The teams are blue and red, and if it does pass through, the goal is claimed by the opposing team with the facade of the building lighting up in that colour. This is an interactive piece where the visitors enable the bars to block the balls based on movement. (Note that the sound in the video clip posted below is from the 'Cosmoscope' installation, which is located next to this one.) 


Droplets (Ulf Pedersen)
'Droplets' is inspired by droplets of water falling into a still pool of water. Located in a dark square in Fitzrovia, the drops of water are lit up almost one-by-one, accompanied by melodic tones and dripping noises as if these are actual water droplets. The droplets light up randomly, one at a time, creating different patterns.


Neon Bikes (Robyn Wright)
The simple but popular design of the bicycle is celebrated here in a fun neon sign. The neon bicycles are provided in red, white, and blue colours. (Although they are not three-dimensional, I still witnessed some numpty getting told off because he tried to sit on one.)


Illumaphonium (Michael Davis)
This is a musical sculpture that has light-changing patterns. The sculpture contains several flowing bars arranged, and each one makes a sound when tapped or struck with one of the hammers provided. It is a very interactive piece that moves and encourages play as interacting with it provides instant feedback and gratification to the viewer/participator. This was highly interactive and changed with each experience. It is very fun and one that should not be missed.


[M]ondes (Atsara)
Overlapping sound and fading lights appear and disappear in the dark Mount Street Gardens. I wll describe this as an eerie installation because it stars of flickering light float in the atmosphere around viewers while small shapes of light are transferred onto nearby walls. Meanwhile, hyptnotic sounds overlap and play into the square while the lights fade and 'twinkle'. This is an immersive piece that is primarily sound and well-placed in the darkness of the Mount Street Gardens. I've heard two people call this their favourite piece in the area, so it is one that should not be missed.


Cosmoscope (Simeon Nelson with Rob Godman and Nick Rothwell)
This is a light and sound sculpture that has been inspired by molecules, the human heart, and the universe. It is a collaboration between scientists and artists. The sculpture lights up with primarily red LED lights intermittently, and this is accompanied by an immersive soundscape.



Origin of the World (Miguel Chevalier)
Towering above Oxford Circus, 'Origin of the World' is certainly one of the highlights of London Lumiere 2018. It is a large globe suspended between the buildings in the middle of Oxford Circus. It glows with multiple colours and patterns. Sometimes these patterns are pixelated, and sometimes they are fluid and reminscent of lava lamps and 1970's pop art. The artwork responds to movement from the viewers around it. The large sphere is surreal and reminded me of planet Earth in some of the patterns.



Northern Lights (Aleksandra Stratimirovic)
This installation is inspired by the ever-changing glow of the northern lights, a phenomenon that your writer has never received the chance to witness yet. The lines of light fade and change shape to create the ebbing glows. Unfortunately, I think that this one would have looked nicer over a reflection of water instead of inside dark Grosvenor Square. I had actually approached from the opposite side of the square and was told that there was only one entrance and three exits, even though only a few people were visiting when I did.


Bough (Simon Corder)
Vivid and colourful tubes of light are attached to the building, creating colourful abstract shapes as they climb up. The lights are stationary and very colourful. There are two sets on display at Lumiere, and I am unsure if they are permanent pieces. One is located on the OXO Tower, and the other is located on a buiding in Mayfair. The ones on the OXO Tower actually reminded me of lightsabres.



Was That a Dream? (Cedric Le Borgne)
This is an illiuminated sculpture of a bird in Berkley Square. It was accommpanied by the song " Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square" (I'm pretty sure that it is the Frank Sinatra version), which is a lovely song and a song that I always hum to myself when I am around Berkley Square. This is the first time that I've ever seen a bird here, though. Perhaps the artist is envisioning the paradise of the romance (or wanted romance) as "too good to be true" or a dream. In Lumiere London 2016, the artist was responsible for creating several figures in different poses, which were placed around Grosvenor Square.


The Umbrella Project (Cirque Bijou)
This is a roaming installation during London Lumiere, and it is a choreographed performance featuring LED umbrellas that change colour. I happened to discover them on Piccadilly Street near Piccadilly Circus, and apparently they are in various parts of Mayfair and Fitzrovia during the four days as well.


Waterlicht (Daan Roosegaarde)
One of the highlights of London Lumiere 2018 for me was this immersive installation, featuring a haze of blue waves of light (with plumes of smoke leashed above the crowds) engulfing the atmosphere. The installation highlights the issues of global warming and rising sea levels, and the blue immersive waves can represent water. The installation also includes a soundtrack, which can be listened to on a mobile app.



OSC-L (Ulf Langheinrich)
The National Theatre has become a work of art along the South Bank skyline. The tower is illuminated with a projection that reacts with the brutalist architecture of the building. The projected lines help to add movement to the tower.


Love Motion (Rhys Coren)
Projected onto the facade of the Royal Academy on Piccadilly Street is this short animation and story of two lovers who kiss, dance, and embrace to a slow soundtrack. The figures are stylised in a simplified manner and appear to be cut out from paper shapes.


Grabber (Mader Wiermann)
Cranes create cities, and King's Cross has been transforming for the past few years now, making cranes a familiar sight. Perched high on a crane is a white sheet with projections illuminated onto it on both sides. The animation is a playful one, featuring various cranes with their hooks, picking up items and sometimes fighting over them, dropping them, or passing them to other cranes. It also reminded me of "claw" machines where the user tries to grab a toy and successfully pass it into the dispenser.


Aquarium (Benedetto Bufalino and Benoit Deseille)
The ever-popular 'Aquarium' has returned for a second time at London Lumiere. It first premiered in London Lumiere 2016 (covered here) and was very popular, but it was so popular that they had to close it to visitors due to the crowds. The simple British telephone box has been transformed into an aquarium with fish, and it was located a bit further away in Seven Dials this year, but it still drew in the crowds.


Bottle Festoon (Community Partners across London Boroughs)
Various community groups have volunteered their time to create chandeliers out of used plastic bottles. These are lit up with lights. Several of these were on display across the different locations.


Guardian Angel (Maro Avrabou & Dimitri Xenakis)
Nature and gardening is an important aspect of urban settings, and this sculpture pays homage to it. These plastic watering cans are suspended in mid-air and are transformed at dark with a brightly-coloured glow with silvery lines coming out of their mouths. This is certainly an eye-catching piece.


Entre Les Rangs (Rami Bebawi / Kanva)
Fields of wheat blowing in the breeze have inspired this artwork in a square north of King's Cross. The plastic reflectors appear to be flowers in a field, and they change colour and reflect at different intervals as the lights move. This is an immersive piece, allowing visitors to walk amongst the installation and pose for photographs. It is another one of the highlights for Lumiere London 2018.



Aether (Architecture Social Club with Max Cooper)
Designed by a collective of arcitechts, technicans, designers, and poets, this light and sound installation works together to create various forms and colours reacting with each other. I saw spots of colour and cubes being formed and then collapsed in conjunction with the audio.


Impulse (Lateral Office and CS Design produced by L4 Studio and Wireframe Studio)
These illuminated and musical seesaws made an appearance last January in Leicester Square in order to brighten the mood. They have returned for Lumiere to offer visitors the chance to target their inner child. The seesaws glow and make musical sounds when used.


Eye Love London (Coca Cola London Eye)
The London Eye has taken its place amongst the illuminated buildings during London Lumiere 2018. The colours cycle around the wheel to create different combinations and then playing on the "I love" theme. I've seen The London Eye illuminated many times before, but I enjoyed seeing it and most of London's buildings illuminated over the past few days.


Deconstructing the Domestic (Nathanial Rackowe)
Nathaniel Rackowe has produced light and form installations for previous London events, such as Sculpture in the City (the most recent 2017 edition is posted here) and the previous London Lumiere. The installations on show were similar to what was shown in Sculpture in the City with his 'deconstruction' pieces. The work features various common urban pieces used in building and construction, deconstructed and illuminated in some manner.


IFO (Identified Flying Object) (Jacques Rival)
IFO is a permanent installation at King's Cross, and it also featured in London Lumiere 2016's line-up. The installation is in the shape of a giant rainbow-coloured birdcage, complete with a little swing inside; it is powered during the day and then transformed into light at night. I love this piece as it is colourful, and the rainbow colours are always shifting and circling around the cage.


Raspberry Ripple (Emma Allen)
This pink neon glow appears to be a neon sign. It is playful but can also take on any meaning that the viewer gives it. Personally, I picture ice creams at the seaside with raspberry sauce. The text is located on South Bank and projected onto a building, but it looked very fuzzy and was not easy to photograph.


My Light is Your Light (Alaa Minawi)
This installation features several stick-like figures standing in the same direction with their heads held low. The figures represent refugees who have had to flee their homes to migrate to safer places across the world.


DOT (Philippe Morvan)
DOT is accompanied by a soundscape composed by Soloman Gray for Lumiere London. The installation's 175 lightbulbs react with the soundscape, changing into different patterns and shapes by lighting and dimming onto the long horizontal canvas. This is a piece that is immersive and better to experience in person.


Nightlife (Lantern Company with Jo Pocock)
Leicester Square is transformed into a natural mystical garden with illuminated wildlife, butterflies, flowers, and plants. The fountain in the middle of the square has been transformed into a pond with toads and lillies. This installation is very similar to London Lumiere 2016's exhibition in Leicester Square, which also displayed illuminated flowers and plants. It is one of the highlights of this year's London Lumiere.




Shaida Walking (Julian Opie)
Featured at London Lumiere 2016 (covered here), 'Shaida Walking' is a permanent sculpture of a walking lady in Carnaby Street. It is created at approximately a normal height to a person so that we can feel a connection with it.


The Plug and Bulbs (James Glancy)
These sculptures have brightened up the Carnaby Street area for a few years now. The bulbs are a newer addition to the area, but the plug on Ganton Street has been around for several years now, and I usually cover it in Christmas posts as they decorate the plug. The bulbs are rows of lightbulbs that are bright in colour and change colour. These are permanent installations.


Ruby, Santiago & Adam: Grey Matters (Emma Allen)
Three short clips shown in Leake Street tunnel celebrate three individuals. The artist uses faces as a canvas to tell stories. Each of the three clips follow a different theme. 'Ruby' shows a young woman who grows older, then her face is transformed into a skull and then stars/dust. 'Santiago' shows the evolution of humans and a digital future. 'Adam' shows a person suffering from neurological disorder.


Upperground (Maya Mouawad and Cyril Laurier)
'Upperground' is projected onto a permanent installation located in the subway to King's Cross underground station. The idea of the installation is to bring the natural world on the upper-ground to the underground. In addition, it will visualise real-time weather data to connect users with the current weather conditions. It continuously changes colour and speed to respond to temperature and wind. I've seen it lit up in different weather conditions, but my most recent visit was the first time that I have seen it coloured white and moving very quickly; I suppose that this was as a result of the wind and cold temperatures.


Overall, it was an event-filled couple of evenings, and I am now nursing sore feet and tired legs from all of the walking. I did find that some of the installations were under-whelming this year when compared to the previous year that London hosted it, but there were a couple of real gems. Have you been to visit London Lumiere this year, or did you visit it in the past?

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