Entertainment & Arts

New artworks to mark lights out festival for World War One centenary

Jeremy Deller Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Deller exhibited at the Venice Biennale last year

Artists including Jeremy Deller are creating new works for a lights out ceremony to mark 100 years since the outbreak of World War One.

The Turner Prize winner has created a downloadable app revealing an hour-long film - the duration of lights going out on 4 August from 2200-2300 BST.

Public buildings and individuals are being encouraged to switch off the lights and burn a candle of reflection. Organisers hope millions of people will participate across the UK.

Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914.

"We are putting art and culture at the very centre of the whole project," said Tamsin Dillon, curator of Lights Out.

"It is about marking the moment that Britain joined World War One with the idea of a single source of light replacing all other kinds of light."

Four leading international artists have been commissioned to create public artworks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

India's Nalini Malani's large-scale video installation will be projected onto the facade of the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

In Wales, artist Bedwyr Williams' work will take the form of a large-scale light and sound installation presented at the site of the World War One North Wales Memorial Arch in Bangor.

The artist known as Bob and Roberta Smith is working on a large scale work using thousands of candles to spell out a statement that will take over the lawn in the grounds of Belfast's City Hall.

In London, a special project will be unveiled on the night of 4 August.

Image copyright Lights Out
Image caption Lights Out will introduce contemporary art to the World War One centenary commemorations
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Adrian Graves, descendent of Sir Edward Grey, helped launch the Lights Out project

Deller's digital piece - in the form of an app - will reveal a new short film in the days leading up to 4 August, and will culminate in a film which will be available for just one hour on the anniversary date.

"These works represent the diversity of contemporary artists working today," said Ms Dillon.

On the eve of the declaration of war in 1914, foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey famously declared: "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime," providing the inspiration for the Lights Out campaign.

Sir Edward's great nephew Adrian Graves spoke the line at the Lights Out launch at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.

Listings for Lights Out events around the country can be found on the 14-18 NOW website, the organisation behind bringing together culture and the World War One centenary.

Public bodies including the BBC have pledged to dim their lights on 4 August, while landmarks including the Houses of Parliament and Blackpool Tower will turn off their lights.

A number of theatres, including all productions of the National Theatre's War Horse around the world, will invite audiences to participate in Lights Out at the end of evening performances on 4 August.

Also on 4 August from 2200-2300 BST, a candlelit vigil to mark the centenary will take place in Westminster Abbey.

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