Lightwriting at Lumiere Durham 2011
by Richard Wolfströme and Ira Lightman

Bringing meaning to place with the made-up stories from local communities was the idea behind Lightwriting. We worked with four different County Durham communities and constructed a narrative form that was presented at Lumiere Durham 2011. Over each of the four evenings the narratives changed - each night being dedicated to the community that came up with their own stories.

Projecting coloured light to form words through a matrix of holes, the Lightwriting cube tells a story 4 faces at a time, changing every 20 seconds. Run around and follow the story before all 4 sides change to the next "page". Richard Wolfströme invented and designed this new form and Ira Lightman guided local groups to write in it. Lightwriting showed County Durham people's great gifts with story telling, Ira's skill with catching the actual language people use, in all its simplicity and fun, and Richard's typographical mastery with setting the words in their perfect sequence of colours and spacing. Every screen was a delight of language caught in all its quirkiness, and all the screens taken together told heartwarming and hilarious stories as they came naturally.

The ambition is to now take the Lightwriting cube to other locations and communities to hear and display their true and imaginary stories. Please get in touch if you want to know more.

Concept & design: Richard Wolfströme (
Words & workshops with County Durham communities: Ira Lightman
Fabrication & technical: Martin Warden, Hi-lights (

Commissioned by Lumiere Durham 2011 (
Produced by Artichoke (

Video edit: Joe Murray

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