From August 1-4, 2014, BBC Arts presented artist Jeremy Deller's series of films for LIGHTS OUT, a project which urged the British public to turn their lights off to mark the centenary of World War One.

The films were available until 11pm on 4 August, the moment 100 years before when Britain issued its declaration of war with Germany.

Jeremy Deller, a Turner Prize winner in 2004, was one of four leading international artists commissioned to create public artworks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England to mark 100 years since the outbreak of war on August 4, 1914.

The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time
Sir Edward Grey

His digital piece revealed a new short film in the days leading up to 4 August, and culminated in a film which was available from 10pm for just one hour on the anniversary date.

The LIGHTS OUT project was inspired by the words of wartime foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey on the eve of war.

LIGHTS OUT was commissioned by 14-18 NOW and The Space.


The work was commissioned as part of a dramatic UK-wide event to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war in the UK.

Public buildings and individuals were encouraged to switch off the lights and burn a candle of reflection from 10pm to 11pm on 4 August.

Organisers hope millions of people will participate across the UK.

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

A number of theatres, including all productions of the National Theatre's War Horse around the world, invited 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 marking the centenary took place at Westminster Abbey.

Glasgow hosted a Commonwealth-themed service at the city's Cathedral and at the cenotaph in George Square.

BBC News: 'Lights Out' ends WW1 centenary commemorations

This is one of a number of artworks created for LIGHTS OUT, with four other works commissioned across the UK.

Each work takes the concept of a single source of light in the darkness as a point of departure.

The other artworks:

  • a large-scale video projection across the entire Western and Southern fa├žades of the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh by Bombay-based artist Nalini Malani, commissioned with the Edinburgh Art Festival;
  • Welsh artist Bedwyr William's work took the form of a large-scale light and sound installation presented at the site of the WW1 North Wales Memorial Arch in Bangor, commissioned with Artes Mundi;
  • leading artist Bob and Roberta Smith's large-scale work used thousands of candles created by a range of community based groups in Belfast, commissioned with Factotum.
  • In London a special installation called Spectra, by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, was revealed on the night of 4 August.

Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller is an English conceptual, video and installation artist.

Deller won the Turner Prize in 2004 and a large-scale retrospective of his work was held at the Hayward Gallery in 2012.

He represented Britain in the Venice Biennale 2013 with the exhibition English Magic, since shown through an extensive tour of galleries in the UK.

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