D-LUX illuminations brought a breath of fresh air into Doonhamers’ traditional Robert Burns’ birthday street celebrations in 2018.
This year’s lantern procession was a much scaled down version of the previous street extravaganzas orchestrated by Big Burns Supper crew, with their huge moving puppet platforms and 3,000 strong lantern carriers that I documented in the previous years.
Nevertheless, the smaller event was still hugely enjoyed by all its participants and onlookers, and the lanterns displayed were quite diverse. At the end of the parade crowds gathered at the Fountain Square to cheer their Robbie Burns and wish him happy birthday.
However, this year featured a strong new addition to Dumfries street festivities – video and light projections by D-LUX Festival of Light that brought artistry, warmth and questioning spirit to High Street.
A furtive ghost figure scurried across the top windows of Baker’s Oven taken over by D-LUX artists and transformed into a giant video jukebox. Colourful silent dramas were played out. Illusory parties were held. Documentaries from the more plentiful and happier past when the town centre was not so run down were projected. The huge neon sign “Whose Hoose Is This?” invited the curious to wonder what else happened there, who might be the occupants of this formerly disused building and what the future held for it.
It was amazing how quickly children had figured out how to use D-LUX illuminations as their playground and started chasing round pools of light that flashed in and out on the pavement in front of the Midsteeple.
I particularly loved Our Moon video installation by Hannah Fox and Jason Threlfall whose constantly changing lunar animation oversaw the parade finale and the LED-illuminated fountain. The Moon’s computer countenance was generated from the digitised facial expressions and stories of real Dumfries inhabitants. The projected face smiled and winked, got sleepy and frowned. It was mesmerising to watch!