Jan 11 2016
Two outdoor lighting festivals at opposite points in the country showcase Canadian creativity and ingenuity. Although at different stages in their life cycle — Montreal’s Luminothérapie is already a sophisticated six years old while Lumiere Festival Vancouver is a fresh-faced two-year-old — both are vibrant exercises in engaging talented professionals and the community at large.
The world’s first festival of light began in Lyon, France as a tribute to the Virgin Mary for protecting the town from the plague of 1643, notes the Vancouver festival organizers. Lyon’s Fête des Lumières was celebrated on December 8 by townspeople who put out candles on their balconies or window sills to show their respect and gratitude. Since then, the festival has developed into a world renowned event celebrated over four days. Today’s 4-day event, with more than 4 million visitors, has become an international centre of light show design featuring artists and light shows from around the world.
This year’s event opened on December 10 and continues to January 31. Launched by the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership in 2010, Luminothérapie turns Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles into an open-air gallery, inviting people of all ages to enjoy an interactive experience in a playful, festive winter setting. The Quartier des Spectacles, a square kilometre of the city’s downtown, boasts North America’s highest concentration and greatest diversity of cultural venues. The district has built a strong identity as a place for creativity, performance and entertainment. Following a major overhaul of its public spaces begun in the late 2000s, the neighbourhood has emerged as a showcase of Montreal vitality.
Luminothérapie has two goals:
• give Montrealers and visitors an original winter experience in the Quartier des Spectacles
• promote Montreal as a city of design and stimulate creativity in the disciplines of urban installations and digital art
At the core of the event is a competition for which multidisciplinary teams propose installations and video projections with a strong urban design component. The competition encourages creativity as well as new artistic practices. This year’s winner is Impulse, an interactive work comprising seesaws of various sizes, with lighting and sound. To activate them, one person sits down on each end. The seesaws, fitted with LED lights and speakers, then produce a series of beautiful sounds. The intensity of the light varies as the board’s angle changes. The installation fills the Place des Festivals with a dance of sounds and lights. Impulse is a participatory creation by the firms Lateral Office and CS Design, in collaboration with EGP Group.
Accompanying the seesaws are video projections for nine permanent projection sites in the Quartier des Spectacles. Playing with the notions of balance and unbalance, symmetry and asymmetry, tension and harmony, the video projections are visual experiments illustrating the original soundtrack created for each video.
Find out more: www.quartierdesspectacles.com/en/event/130/luminotherapie.
Lumiere Festival Vancouver
This year’s event took place December 11 and 12 in Vancouver’s West End. For two nights in the darkness of December, the West End brightened up and offered local and international artists’ interpretations of light through interactive, colourful and magical installations.
Like Luminothérapie, the Lumiere Festival was created to bring in art, culture and vibrancy to the downtown core, attracting people from every walk of life, from every age and cultural background, and from single people to large families.
The star of this year’s event was Luna, created by MK Illumination. Constructed by hand in Slovakia, this orca whale is a one-off design made specifically in recognition of the whales in the waters around Vancouver. The white powder-coated frame is 7m long by 2.5m high and contains over 6000 LED white bulbs. Its energy usage is only 177 watts and 36v. MK Illumination has a worldwide reputation for being exceptional creators and suppliers of conceptual festive lighting for all occasions.
Find out more about Lumiere Vancouver: http://westendbia.com/lumiere/.