>This is so cool. Back in October and November, a group called Illuminating York did a series of art installations and performances all around the city of York, England. The first link takes you to pictures and video of Evoke, an interactive project that lit up the Minster’s western facade with moving rainbow lights set to operate in response to people’s voices. The pictures are great but the video is even cooler. In it, singers, screaming kids, clapping crowds, and the sound of children’s feet on the steps to the entrance all send undulating light projections crawling up the face of the Minster. I love the fact that it makes tangible the idea of voices being sent into heaven through the magisterial, soaring heights of the Minster. And be sure to watch the video through to the end, where the lights change into something more eery and uncanny.
I have to say though, I don’t get where the writer of the post is coming from in describing York Minster as “usually dark and gloomy.” Maybe they just mean at night, because York has always struck me as the airiest and lightest of medieval cathedrals, owing in part to its light stone (is it limestone? I can’t remember) and its late medieval architectural techniques allowing for greater height and more windows. It’s so powerfully beautiful that my mother gasped when she first entered it back on our first trip there in 1986. Though never a fan of religious art — though she always visited every cathedral in every European cathedral city we traveled to! — even my atheist mother understood viscerally the potential effect of the place for someone who does believe. For her its beauty was powerful enough.
I imagine living in York it would be easy enough to take the Minster for granted, but a display like this reanimates but also repurposes its beauty and meaning. Illuminating York is illuminating in all senses of the word. Well done!