BRILLIANT Projection


Daksha Patel (UK)

Location: Count’s House

Projections reveal Durham’s geological history

The Fossilised Sea is about time, and the traces of the distant past, which are embedded in the present day. 

325 million years ago, during the Carboniferous Period, Durham was a tropical sea with coral reefs. The tectonic plate movements of the earth during deep time shifted the rock formations from the equator to their present position in the Northern hemisphere. Evidence of this former time can be found in beautiful fossils of corals and invertebrates embedded in limestone rock throughout Durham. 

The idea for The Fossilised Sea evolved from Daksha’s first visit to Durham, when geologist Brian Young showed her the beautiful fossils of corals embedded in the limestone columns of Durham cathedral. 

Using scans of a variety of different rock formations in quarries along the coast provided by Dr. Richard Jones, Daksha identified specific images for the artwork. Using the scans, she created detailed drawings of the fossils, which were merged into the edited Lidar scans to evoke seascapes.

The Fossilised Sea artwork merges geological scans of rock formations with drawings of the fossils, to evoke the former life of Durham.

With special thanks to Dr. Richard R. Jones, Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Durham, for Lidar scans of sites across county Durham, and to Brian Young, geologist and meteorologist, for showing me the fossils embedded in the columns of Durham cathedral.



Prebends Bridge: From the bridge there is a steep slope towards the Count’s House. The surface is a tarmac footpath. 


About Daksha Patel

Daksha Patel’s practice encompasses drawing, printmaking, animation and installation. It is informed by residencies and research within scientific institutions and engages with visualisation and mapping technologies. Recent residencies include Anatomy at King’s College London (2019-2021), Life Science at University of Dundee (2018/9), Applied Mathematics at University of Bristol (2019) and Neuroscience and Imaging Science at the University of Manchester (2016). Patel is intrigued by what remains immeasurable, illusive and unseen, despite our increasing capacities to visualise and gather data about the world around us.


BRILLIANT is a commissioning scheme aimed at encouraging anyone (aged 18 or older) to suggest their brightest idea for a new light-based artwork as part of the Lumiere 2021 programme. In an exciting development for Lumiere 2021, the scheme has been extended to the whole of the UK.

BRILLIANT 2021 is supported by


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