Steve McQueen – Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

We recently worked with the Whitworth, Manchester to install Steve McQueen’s ‘Ashes’ in one of the Whitworth’s newly built gallery spaces.

The work is a 2-channel video installation presented in 4K resolution via Blackmagic Hyperdeck and Sony 4K projectors. The audio is 8-channel ‘immersive surround’ via Fohhn Audio DSP system controller.

James Islip and Mark Rhodes were A/V technicians for the project, supporting Steve McQueen’s A/V designer Sue Macdiarmid.

The installation is open until March 2018. Please see The Whitworth for details.

Image: Steve McQueen, Ashes, 2002-2015. Video still.
Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris and London.

Many thanks to the Whitworth, Sue Macdiarmid, Samantha Lackey, Leanne Green and the Whitworth build technicians Ben Gwilliam, Gareth Hustwaite & Richard Shields.


RAQS – Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Twilight Language is a new exhibition at The Whitworth Manchester by Raqs Media Collective from New Delhi, India. A multi-faceted show across multiple gallery spaces, including 17 video installations.

We spent most of September 2017 working at The Whitworth, with the artists, curatorial team and the gallery technicians. It’s been a fantastic project to work, and we are proud to have provided the A/V, both equipment and expertise, for what is a world class exhibition.

“We and Raqs think that the AV work has come out exceptionally well and that, very importantly, it was a pleasure having you around. You work with knowledge and experience and also with the ability to listen to the artist and get it right for them.”

Curator Mary Griffiths from The Whitworth.

Audio-visual installation by: Kathryn Gray, James Islip, Joe Osborne, Ben Gwilliam, Chris Woodward & Mark Rhodes. In terms of the gear, we mainly used WUXGA RZ range laser Panasonic projectors, with additional projectors from the DZ range. The playback is powered by Brightsign. In addition there are two audio installations, one a sound shower, plus several screen-based works.

Sincere thanks to Mary Griffiths, Leanne Green, Raqs and all of the staff at The Whitworth. ‘Twilight Language’ is open until March 2018, see The Whitworth website for details.





Rana Hamadeh: Live sound installation / performance

Lumen were asked by Kiff Bamford and Harold Offeh of Leeds Beckett University to provide the sound equipment installation for artist Rana Hamadeh‘s live sound play/peformance at The Tetley in Leeds, as part of the symposium ‘Performance and Uncertainty’. The performance is titled ‘Can You Make a Pet of Him Like a Bird or Put Him on a Leash For Your Girls?’.

The intention was to create an immersive and almost quite harsh sound environment, utilising the whole space of The Tetley’s South Bank room. The artwork featured 8 channels of discrete audio along with 3 live microphones, played back through 8 different speakers. The speakers used were two large subwoofers, six PA speakers, a small speaker facing the wall and a public address horn all fed from a laptop and audio interface, with mixing by audio engineer Joe Osborne of Lumen.

The performance itself was very powerful and moving, with live oration, singing and sound effects at high volumes. Earplugs were provided for the audience just in case!



Film Festival Production & ‘Pop-Up’ Cinema

Lumen have over 10 years experience of setting up film screenings in non-cinema venues and ‘pop-up’ spaces. We have worked with Leeds International Film Festival, Flatpack Festival, Leeds Young Film Festival, Holmfirth Film Festival, as well as many other organisations and events that have film content, such as Lawrence Batley Theatre, Hull2017, Recon, Bradford Literature Festival, Vespertine, Bradford Threadfest, Art Sheffield, Other Rooms Film Festival, Opera North, Henry Moore Institute.

We offer a wide range of services from full production for film events & festivals to hire of small film screening equipment and packages. We specialise in experimental film, audio/visual collaborations and unusual events in non-conventional venues.

Matthew Bourne live Moog performance with interactive visuals at Belgrave Music Hall. 

2016 saw the 30th edition of Leeds International Film Festival. Lumen provided 25 film screenings over 15 different venues and spaces, including short film programmes, immersive surround sound experiences, live music and live visual collaborations, Q&A discussions, documentaries and features.



Christmas in Leeds 2016

Lumen were commissioned by Leeds BID to create forward thinking, innovative Christmas lights using projection. We have come up with two projection installations running at different sites in Leeds City Centre.

RADIAL at O2 Academy. James Islip at Lumen, alongside Dave Lynch and Antony Kitson, are combining their talents to beam an eye-catching projection of winter themes and tones onto the O2’s window façade, one of the most impressive features of the amazing Grade II-listed Gothic exterior of the O2 Academy. The projection is live daily from 4pm until 8pm until Dec 31st 2016. Find out more here.

Photos by: • Instagram/Twitter: @tomjoyphoto

Waggon Lifting Hoist projections at Wellington Place. James Islip, working with 25 Leeds College of Art students have created festive light projections, has animated the historic lifting tower in Wellington Place. Many of these students had not worked with projection before. Find out more about James’s workshops with the students at Leeds College of Art here.


Pilot Theatre // Vespertine

Short excerpt from the 10th Vespertine Event in May 2016 at English Heritage’s Cold War Bunker in Acomb, York.

“Imagine a world where humans are forced to live underground, the surface uninhabitable.

Technology has become the only way to reach out and connect. Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal take you underground and into the world of E.M Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’. Featuring an exclusive live performance of the newly composed soundtrack for the play, composed by John Foxx and analogue synth specialist Benge. Set against the backdrop of York’s own Cold War Bunker, visuals (created live by James Islip) and music combine to explore our complex relationship with technology and what this might mean for human connection now and in the future.”

Visuals for the play The Machine Stops by Pilot Theatre

visuals by James Islip / Lumen.



Lumen: support for artists & creative projects



Video piece by Sam Meech commissioned by Virgin Records, projectors supplied and installed by Lumen. 

We work with artists and creative organisations in a number of ways. We hire out audio/visual equipment, we hire out technicians with a range of skills; sound engineers, projectionists, gallery and museum technicians and video tech. But these are services that most audio/visual companies can provide. We like to do more than this.

Lumen works with artists to help develop their work. We offer consultancy to help introduce technical planning at an early stage, to try and imagine what something might look like, or sound like, and how that might be achieved. We offer hands on support for artists to help them create their work, teach them how to capture sound or edit video, so that next time they might have the skills to do this for themselves.

Crucially, we are non-judgemental. We encourage people to have ideas, and we don’t let ‘the way we would do it’ restrain their way of working. We help them find the right technical solution for whatever the artistic application.  All our technicians come from a range of backgrounds, and also have their own artistic practice as projection / video artists, sound artists or musicians.

Lumen does not have shareholders, all of our staff are paid the same wage, a fair living wage, and we make collective decisions about how our organisation operates. Profits our company generates are invested in our equipment, people and resources. This means we can try and keep our hire prices below commercial rates and offer discounts to any creative / arts organisations or individuals.






New project: The Water Sinks Down With Them


In conjunction with Opera North’s epic presentation of Wagner’s complete Ring cycle, a new sound and film installation by artist Emma Critchley comes to Leeds Central Library from Monday 16 to Thursday 26 May.

Commissioned by Opera North Projects, The water sinks down with them is an immersive installation that holds the evolution of human consciousness within the walls of a specially-designed room in the Library’s new art space, Room 700.

Emma Critchley takes her inspiration from the opening bars of Wagner’s 16-hour epic, beginning where the composer began with the primeval energy of the River Rhine:

The fact that the Ring starts and ends in water is central to my response with this work. It’s an exploration of this Wagnerian idea of a pre-existing cosmos in which human consciousness takes form. The water is primordial and evokes an expansive sense of time, before and after our own existence. Through the film a timeless, ever-changing space unfolds that seems at times colossal, at others microscopic.

Sound designer Nicolas Becker, who has worked with filmmakers including Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg, and received his second Golden Reel award for his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, has been collaborating with the artist. A recording of Opera North’s Rhinemaidens – the first and the last characters seen in the four-opera cycle – will form part of the soundscape. “It’s inspired by the opening bars of Das Rheingold that evolve into the first sung word, which is Wagner’s metaphor for the evolution of consciousness” says Critchley

The artist, a qualified commercial diver whose fascination with the submarine world can be seen throughout her work in photography and film, admits that she is a newcomer to the music of Wagner:

It’s been a steep learning curve – I spent Christmas getting to grips with recordings of the cycle and the libretto translations, and reading around the myths and the philosophy that fed into Wagner’s work.

She cites Ludwig Feuerbach, the German philosopher and contemporary of Wagner, as an influence on the new installation. Feuerbach’s belief in the supremacy of nature, which ‘has no beginning and no end’ and ‘is at once effects and cause, acting and reacting on all sides’, was taken up passionately by Wagner as he wrote the Ring, and in an early draft the cycle concludes with the so-called ‘Feuerbach ending’.

The water sinks down with them is part of an extensive programme of special events and commissions, including talks, film screenings, live broadcasts and family workshops, in celebration of Opera North’s performance of six complete cycles of the Ring in cities across the country this summer.

The water sinks down with them opens in Room 700, Leeds Central Library, from Monday 16 toThursday 26 May. Emma Critchley will give an informal artist’s talk in the exhibition space onTuesday 17 May from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. Admission is free and no booking is necessary, but space is limited so early arrival is recommended.

The installation will accompany Opera North’s Ring cycle on tour to The Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London (Friday 24 June to Sunday 3 July) and the BALTIC Centre, in association with Sage Gateshead, from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 July. Admission at all venues is free, with no booking required.

Video installation by James Islip at Lumen, projection equipment supplied by Lumen.


Katrina Palmer: The Necropolitan Line

Towards the end of 2015, our technical team has been working with artist Katrina Palmer and the Henry Moore Institute on their new exhibition ‘The Necropolitan Line’.

Our role within the project was to understand the sound aesthetic that Katrina wanted as part of the exhibition, and then help design and install both the physical and audio elements within the gallery space.

katrina palmer

The exhibition is currently open and runs until February 21st 2016.

For more information about Katrina Palmer and ‘The Necropolitan Line’ look here.

Thanks to Katrina Palmer, the team at Henry Moore Institute.