Durham Lumière - 14th to 17th November 2013

After the success of LUMIERE in Durham in 2009 and 2011, leading creating company Artichoke Trust was re-commissioned by Durham County Council to produce a third LUMIERE for 2013. Artichoke brought together local and international artists, lighting designers, and community groups to breathe new light into the city with a breathtaking series of lightworks illuminating Durham's buildings, streets and public spaces. Artichoke worked closely with the artists in the design and deployment of the 27 installations, enlisting QED to supply a wide range of projectors and additional technical support.

Throughout the four days over a 175,000 people attended the festival. Durham Council leader Simon Henig said "It was a world-class event. Lumiere 2013 has been breathtaking, thought-provoking, entertaining and an overwhelming success for tens of thousands of festival-goers and very many businesses."

"Solar Equation" by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Solar Equation is a faithful simulation of the Sun, 100 million times smaller than the real thing and features the world's largest spherical helium balloon. The solar animation on the balloon is generated by live mathematical equations that simulate the turbulence, flares and sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun. This produces a constantly changing display that never repeats itself, giving viewers a glimpse of the majestic phenomena that are observable on the solar surface. The project uses the latest SOHO and SDO solar observatory imaging available from NASA, overlaid with live animations derived from NavierStokes, reaction diffusion, perlin and fractal flame equations.

For Lumiere the 14m diameter balloon was tethered over Durham University's Science Site and projected upon by ten edge-blended Christie WU20K-J 20,000 lumen WUXGA projectors. The projectors were installed in weatherproof housings on four surrounding rooftops with two mounted directly underneath the balloon. All the sites were linked back to the control centre via QED's bespoke multichannel fibre optic system which provided both DVI signal and network control together with output monitoring on all channels.

QED Director Paul Wigfield explained the reasoning behind the projector selection: "When projecting onto circles or spheres you naturally lose pixels, however with a balloon that bobs and sways you also need to create a larger pixel canvas in order to accommodate the natural movement, so the Christie Roadster WU20K-J with its native 1920 x 1200 panel was the obvious choice. The media servers delivered a staggering 23 megapixel output so even with the pixel wastage this was probably one of the highest resolution outdoor projections ever. The extreme wide angle 0.67:1 lenses coupled with the WUXGA panels of the WU20K-Js proved to be the key solution for the projectors at ground level as the throw distance underneath the balloon was very limited."

"Volume Unit" by The Media Workshop
This interactive projection transformed the exterior of one of Durham's least loved buildings, the 1960s Milburngate House, into a visual jukebox. Live video DJing projections and music selected by audience members tweeting their requests brought the building to life with a variety of sound responsive images and graphics.

QED provided six Christie HD18K 20,000 lumen HD projectors and six individual fibre channels to cover a 74m wide x 19m high section of the building. Two blended projectors tripled up proved to be most easily deployable way of utilising the 4k resolution provided by the Media Workshop's Apple Mac system. The content was created from a photograph and precision mapped to the building by senior QED AV Technician Dave Voyce using Christie's Twist Pro software - a highly specialist programme that provides the level of geometric adjustment required for projection mapping and the accuracy required for aligning multiple large images for back-up and increased brightness.

"Elephantastic" by Top'là Design
This large-scale installation by Top'là Design projects a 3D elephant into the distance. The animal emerges from a cloud of dust raised by his feet treading the ground. Engulfed in the vaulted passage, Ménestrier the elephant continues his slow and heavy journey through the archway. The installation explores the strangeness of the presence of a wild animal in an architectural context and the scale between the animal and the city.

The projection was set on Elvet Bridge, and housed in a specially constructed arch suspended above the ground which allowed visitors to walk underneath. The front of the elephant was projected on one side of the archway and the rear was projected onto the other side using two Christie WU14K-M 14,000 lumen WUXGA projectors, with the content played back from a QED Watchout server system.

"Gina I" by Gina Czarnecki
Art meets science in this investigation of the eye and its relationship to the human body. I is a large-scale installation that uses bio-medical imagery of eyes to make a beautiful, dynamic artwork. Audience members were invited to interact with the work, experiencing and adding to it with scans of their own eyes. Despite the dark red brick surface only a single Christie HD18K 20,000 lumen HD projector was required to display the artwork at stunning brightness onto the façade of the Bill Bryson Library at Durham University's Science Site.

External links

Lumiere Festival
Artichoke Trust
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
The Media Workshop
Top'là Design
Gina Czarnecki

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