Lumiere – Durham

17th November 2023

Durham Cathedral is transformed into an interactive and nocturnal art experience for the next few days as the UK’s light art biennial takes over the medieval city.

Lumiere Durham.

This four day event which started on Thursday 16 November will present works by artists including Javier Riera and Ai Weiwei on the streets, bridges, the river, the buildings, and other spaces.

Lumiere – Durham



Javier Riera’s three dimensional geometric projections will transform the exterior of Durham Cathedral, in its Chapter House, visitors will find Ai Weiwei’s Illuminated Bottle Rack, consisting of 61 carefully placed antique chandeliers, in the nave, art meets science as Durham Cathedral becomes Lumiere’s pulsating heart.


Lumiere – Durham

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Pulse Topology is a colossal immersive artwork centring on the theme of human connection as the Cathedral itself becomes a remarkable living expression of the heartbeats of its visitors. This piece is composed of over four thousand light bulbs, each activated by the heartbeat of the participants.

When a new participant interacts with the installation, their pulse is added to the canopy of recordings above them, contributing to a glimmering, connective array through which audiences are invited to walk.

And in the cloisters is a meditative light journey into the past by American artist Adam Frelin which will replicate the shape and scale of the Durham Cathedral’s cloister arches, by creating an ethereal inner cloister that mirrors the physical one. Inner Cloister will light in sequence to emulate the passage of monks of old who would have walked around these corridors for hundreds of years.

Lumiere – Durham 2023

These are just some of the 40 works lighting up Durham for its biennial Lumiere festival, a global event featuring artists from 15 different countries include 16 new commissions and 7 UK debuts, ranging from local North East artists and schools and communities as well as group collectives and global artists prominent in the light art movement.

The free festival has been staged every two years in Durham since 2009 and has been visited by more than a million people. Its 2023 programme is the biggest yet. This year installations can also be seen in Bishop Aukland town centre.

Lumiere – Durham

From Thursday 16 – Sunday 19 November 2023, 16:30-23:00

Photo credits to Matthew Andrews, John Attle, Artichoke.