Monday, January 22, 2018


A couple of years ago, when Lumiere London was held, I missed it. It's only a few days long, so like many ephemeral manifestations of light, you've got to get out and see it quickly before it fades away.

So this year I made a concerted effort to get into town yesterday -- even though it was raining, and conditions weren't optimal for watching light sculpture.

First I went to an afternoon showing of "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," which was an excellent if disturbing movie. By the time I emerged from the theater it was dark, and time to go looking for the lights.

I found "Flamingo Flyway" by Lantern Company with Jo Pocock -- a trio of illuminated flamingoes flapping gracefully through the streets of Chinatown.

Then there was "Nightlife," a garden of fantastic nocturnal beasts and flowers in Leicester Square, by the same group of artists.

From there I passed Trafalgar Square, where I briefly enjoyed the pulsing light and sound of "Child Hood" by Collectif Coin, described as "a cloud made up of a large number of luminous balloons." I wish I'd gotten closer, but I was on the way to see my main goal...

...Patrice Warrener's shifting, colorful illuminations of the facade of Westminster Abbey.

Known as "The Light of the Spirit (Chapter 2)," the work "paints" the abbey's doorway with incredibly focused, almost psychedelic light.

Pretty amazing, right? That's all just beige sandstone in the normal light of day.

Finally I went to Berkeley Square, in Mayfair, to see "Was That a Dream?" -- a shiny nightingale by Cédric Le Borgne perched in the trees there. (You know how much I like that song, which was playing from a nearby speaker to remind us of the work's inspiration.)

It was a challenge visiting all these works in the rain, but I managed! My only complaint about Lumiere is that it's so short -- only four nights. I wish the sculptures and artworks could stick around longer.


  1. They are all striking land well worth venturing out in the rain to see. How's the tooth?

  2. Amazing visuals. Glad you also enjoyed "Three Billboards". Shame about the rain.

  3. So much magic! Truly beautiful. Westminster Abbey- How'd they DO that? Whoa!
    Ethereal and ephemeral.

  4. What a wonderful idea and why have I never heard of it before?!

  5. I'm so glad you ventured out on that rainy evening. These are such stunning images and I can only imagine how beautiful it was to see it full of lifht right before your eyes. Truly beautiful.

  6. Lumiere London looks fantastic - why the French name, though? "Lights on London" sounds just as tasty. And to me, the rain enhances the effect,making the streets glitter (and rain is romantic, too). I wish I'd been in London this past weekend. Thank you for taking me there.

    There is a big plot hole in Three Billboards that bothers me: the mother is threatened in her gift shop workplace by that suspicious character who she suspects had something to do with her daughter's death, but later that same guy is exonerated from any involvement via DNA. So, why did he bother to harass her?

    Also, Woody Harrelson's character serves no purpose other than to be the "sheriff" for half the movie. He has no effect on the story.

    AND when (spoiler) the mother fire bombs the sheriff's office, nobody bothers to arrest her. And for god's sake, in real life there's no way that a 19-year old girl hang out with that ugly old ex-husband of hers -- he doesn't even have money!!

    The foreign press likes the movie because they think it's about America (cute main street, a local sheriff, colorful and cartoonish racist characters), but in my opinion, it's a dumb movie made by a foreigner who has a wobbly hold on American culture. The fact that there is no resolution at the end, when the two main characters end up starting out on an all-American road trip makes it very European-ish and "existential", and "deep". Hoo boy, I really think this movie stinks.

  7. This is fantastic. Its the first time I have seen the term light sculpture.

  8. I think my favorite is the last one though Westminster Abbey is pretty amazing.

  9. Oh how I wish I could see this in person. Your photos are great and I enjoyed the little video at Trafalgar Square. Westminster Abbey is my favorite. The detail in the lighting is amazing. I like the nightingale too.

  10. Oh how fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing the highlights with us. Westminster Abbey is totally glorious, I wonder how that was done.

  11. Beautiful! I too would like to know how they did Westminster!

  12. I adore those flamingos
    I would love to start sometime similar winter nights are booody too long..

  13. DANG! I left too early, but of course anytime would have been too soon. Thank you for going, I would have loved it! Great shots and the rain does enhance the intensity of the lights, good job going out into it, at night!! Appreciating Vivian's movie review- there are so many good films out there I think I will skip this one.

  14. I thought 2016 was better but there were some good installations.