Ancient and modern, illuminated, at the end of Parliament Street. One of the smaller supporting pieces in the Illuminating York festival, and behind it the beautiful lantern tower of All Saints, Pavement. The lantern tower is there to be admired against the dark night sky all year round, but the 21st century illuminations of ‘IY2013′ are a temporary enhancement.
Under this illuminated tree were strings, and on the strings many handwritten labels. I couldn’t see any instructions regarding what people were supposed to write on these labels, and perhaps that was deliberate. Certainly its effect was memorable, so many ‘voices’. I read a few, some were messages to the world, one said ‘I take my goldfish for a walk’, many were wishes. One, in a child’s writing, in coloured felt tip, wished that grandad and dad would get better.
Like the spiral of candles in the Minster last year (repeated again this year), the smaller more personal installations, the places where we can participate and add something, form one of the memorable and special parts of this annual event.
Not far away, in St Helen’s Square. This was stunning, beautifully coloured. The projections onto buildings are of course the main part of the show in Illuminating York, and many people will remember the Minster lit up, and the impressive show on the front of the Castle Museum a couple of years ago. This was smaller-scale, onto little old St Helen’s, but unlike the larger ‘main event’ shows this year, this is free and open to all.
Difficult for the organisers after last year’s event, and the controversy over Vic Reeves’ ‘Wonderland’, which most people seemed to think wasn’t that wonderful. There’s a ticket-only show in the Museum Gardens again this year, and also one at Clifford’s Tower. This we had a look at too despite not having a ticket, as it’s fairly easy to see much of it without one. Many other people had also realised this and there were as many people outside the barriers as inside them, it seemed.
I got the impression while walking around that most of the people around us were residents. Last year it seemed bigger, with more visitors perhaps coming in specially. Maybe they were put off by last year. Or maybe my impression was incorrect. Anyway, a very nice way of bringing extra beauty and charm to an already beautiful and charming place, and brightening the dark autumn evenings.
This evening is the last night of the Illuminating York festival. See www.illuminatingyork.org.uk for more information. There are many supporting events, and all within walking distance, in and around the city centre.
Pictured above are (in Parliament St) ‘Thor’s Oak: A York Thing’, by Same Sky, and (St Helen’s Square) ‘Sampo’, by Jackson & Teed