Spanning across the entirety of the town, Luxmuralis shone as one the most experimental and ambitious crowning jewels within the St Andrews Voices festival. Spread across five distinct locations, the installations promised an evening of lightworks, stunning live music and ambiance galore.
Upon approach to the Holy Trinity Church (the main venue of the evening), it appeared almost dreamlike. The faint echoes of ambient, swelling music could be heard from the outside as hints of shifting light shone through the high windows. I was greeted with a queue filing out of the door and making a decent start down South Street- clearly the cold as hell weather wouldn’t deter guests from coming out.
The Holy Trinity Church installation truly exemplified all that Luxmuralis sought to achieve. Attendees travelled through the church with bated breath- nobody dared make a sound (partially because the acoustics in the church amplified each sniffle and scuff threefold). The ceilings and walls were adorned with three main shows of light over the inner architecture of the church, blending religious imagery with an overlay of scientific and galactic motion.
The standout moment of the evening was definitely the interjection of stunning live music performed by The Gesualdo Six. As the pre-recorded music and visuals tapered off in unison, the group began to sing in the relative darkness, illuminated only with small, white lights. It sent goosebumps down my arms.
I caught up with Sonia Stevenson, Artistic Director of the St Andrews Voices Festival outside All Saints’ Church to ask her a couple questions. It’s clear the entire festival is a huge passion project for all involved. When asked what Luxmuralis meant to her, Sonia replied “Luxmuralis means everything to me”
She elaborated on the installation’s importance:
“I knew instantly I wanted to bring Luxmuralis to St Andrews and do something special here.”
…I grew up in St Andrews, in fact. That’s my local connection, and I was really involved in lots of local music making as a child. It really had a huge influence on me, and I wanted to give back to the town. That was part of the idea of starting the festival- to celebrate the voice in all kinds of different ways.”
…It’s been so long in the planning, and because it is so different, it’s a bit of an experiment for us. We didn’t know who would come, what kind of reaction we would have, but now people are coming and saying how amazing it is- it’s really heartwarming.”
Due to the nature of the installation, the viewings were broken up by short walks to different venues, which hammered home Sonia’s words. Not only was Luxmuralis a celebration of space, science and live music, but a celebration of St Andrews. Through lighting up these familiar cornerstones of our town with colour and sound, these installations remind us that beauty really does reside in the mundane.