AniMotion Show Brings Its Magic To Durham Cathedral

Artist Maria Rud and projection specialist Ross Ashton took their innovative AniMotion concept to Durham Cathedral - a unique blend of digital art and live music that enveloped the stunning architecture - with a performance by virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, flautist David Heath and music producer and DJ Dolphin Boy.

Rud’s live painting was mapped to the wall of the Cathedral Library which borders onto the cloisters – the first time that this part of the stunning Romanesque architecture had been utilised for a projected artwork. It was also the first time that the public had been able to walk on the cloisters grass.

Rud and Ashton collaborated with Durham Cathedral to produce the AniMotion work which comprised nine pieces of original music some especially written for this performance and nine painted AniMotion sequences.

Rud’s projected canvas measured 16 metres wide and was created by Ashton’s tech savvy wizardry and encyclopaedic knowledge in the art of projection.  The giant images were beamed onto the wall by a single Panasonic PT-DZ21K machine, fed via a laptop from two cameras focussed intently vertically downwards onto the light box on which Rud worked.

The beautifully fluid and organic paintings unfolded in real-time on the Cathedral Library wall in rhythmic harmony with the music. Rud also integrated the arched window of the Chapter House wall into some of her pictures along with an eclectic collage of other characters and scenes during the 75 minute show.

“Something different was promised, something life-affirming was delivered,” enthused David Whetstone in The Journal, one of a number of influential local media portals who were all equally as impressed with the phenomenon.

It is the third AniMotion collaboration between Rud and Ashton. The worldwide launch of the AniMotion Show took place in Cambridge in September 2013, and the next was at Edinburgh’s charismatic St Giles Cathedral in January.

Ashton comments, “The show adds a completely new and different dynamic to the music and was extremely well received by everyone who saw it. We have received lots and lots of positive feedback”.

They intend to expand the idea and show how it can work in numerous locations and environments both indoors and outdoors and with a wide range of different musical genres.

The cloisters at Durham were lit by a scheme designed by Ranald Neilson that complimented the projection and highlighted the fantastic architecture which dates back to 1093.

The projector and AV kit was supplied by Warpro, the audio system came from Warehouse Sound and lighting equipment from Metro Ecosse, all based in Edinburgh.

The production was supported by the Arts Council of England and Durham City Councillors.

It was the fourth time that Ashton has produced digital art at Durham Cathedral – following his highly successful ‘Crown of Light’ projection installation on the main exterior of the building for the Durham Lumière events of 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Photos: Ross Ashton