Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Illuminating York

At the weekend mum, Anna and I went for a wander around the sites of Illuminating York; an annual festival of light shows celebrating the city's unique heritage. Limited time meant we didn't get to explore all of the artworks, but the main two we did visit (Clifford's Tower and The Museum Gardens) were captivating projections, bringing to life the familiar buildings. It reminded me not to take for granted the beauty of the architecture we can easily take for granted amongst the bustle of town's shoppers.

Our first stop was at the Clifford's Tower show. This story was of the three Viking Kings of Denmark, who had a strong influence over England, particularly York, at the time. The work was a combination of the efforts of Ross Ashton, an internationally successful projection artist, and Karen Monid, a creative designer of sound art installations. I was very impressed with the way the projections have been created to complement the shape of the tower and its hill. The knowledge of the projections' backdrop added to the atmosphere of the stories- the images present on the tower itself were often suited to the idea of being in a castle interior. I tried to take some pictures and videos, but they don't do the live spectacle justice. However, it's quite impressive to look back on this landmark looking so surreal...
After visiting a couple of the smaller, free shows (including one in Coppergate with interpretive dancing!) we finished the evening in the Museum Gardens, where the projected story was a combination of film and animation about the Viking King Eric Bloodaxe. For me, this was the most entertaining part of the night-the humorous narration engaged the audience fully, and persuaded us to stay for the entire show, even though at this point my hands were too cold to operate a camera!

It was a shame our visit had to be so brief, as we missed out on other parts of the festival which I'm sure would have been equally, if not more impressive. The festival brought the cultural side of York alive in a way that appealed to adults and children. It's certainly made me feel as though I ought to take more of an active interest in York's history, and quite proud to be from a place to have such a rich one.

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