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ART & DESIGN / LICHTROUTEN


Impressive projection work by Hartung + Trenz in the centre of Lichtrouten.


BETTER THAN A THREE PENNY OPERA


The LichtRouten International Forum of Light in Art and Design is a festival that swallows an entire city, bringing to life its hidden nooks and crannies with ethereal works of wonder.


Ludenscheid is a leafy German city found deep within the lush countryside that comprises much of North Rhine-Westphalia. Though bustling, and not without consider- able charm, the city is often overshadowed by its mightier neighbours, Dusseldorf and more immediately, Wuppertal, with its rattly suspension railway, which thunders through the town on rusty girders like an out-dated attraction in a theme park that has long since moved on.


Ludenscheid with its beautifully preserved old town and its jarringly modern rathaus lacks anything of a similar fashion to attract the tourist trade, although it does boast the theatre where famed German composer Kurt Weill, the man who gave us Mack the Knife, September Song and The Threepenny Opera, gave his first concert, however this


fact alone is unlikely to send the crowds flocking.


What does though is the city’s increasingly renowned LichtRouten Festival, a biennial International Forum of Light in Art and De- sign, which highlights the effect excellent light art can have on public spaces, often undervalued public spaces of great worth within the city fabric.


Under the inspiring direction of Bettina Pelz and Tom Groll, the festival has fostered a growing reputation for showing the work of some of the best light artists in the world, acting to emphasise the fact that light-art is not a flash-bang stab at star- ry-eyed entertainment designed to prompt a jaw-dropping reaction in the moment and then be forgotten about, but can instead be the perfect medium for emotional articu-


lation of surprising and long-lasting depth. This year’s Festival, held in October, was the seventh in the organisation’s history and the biggest in scale. Titled ‘The Art of Projection’ the city-wide trail of light-art work ran from the administrative centre to the city’s new station quarter, which boasts a whole host of new builds, including the sleek new DIAL headquarters. Projections and light-artworks could be found hidden away on multi-story car park walls, in aban- doned shop fronts or in atmospheric factory warehouses. Twenty works in all, all of an impressive quality, were presented as part of the festi- val, with some noteworthy highlights. www.lichtrouten.de


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