Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Dec 11, 2017

Light ArtAfter its first full year, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnerships program for the export of its public art installations is a clear success: to date, six works produced and premiered in Montreal have been presented in 20 cities at 25 cultural events and festivals, and have been seen by millions of people in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

For the last year, installations produced by the partnership, whether based on light, sound, participation or interaction, have been entertaining audiences in the world’s great capitals and cultural events. Their export helps extend the life of the works, raises their creators’ profile, and serves as an exceptional platform for showcasing Montreal, UNESCO City of Design, contributing to the city’s emergence as a global capital of digital art and creativity.

“Impulse,” shown in the photo, is a fine example of international appreciation, having been immensely successful in London, Chicago, Brussels and Lugano, followed by stops in 10 more large European, American and Canadian cities. After its world tour, the installation comprising a series of illuminated, sound-producing seesaws, created by Lateral Office and CS Design, has returned to the Place des Festivals in the Quartier des Spectacles until January 28, 2018.

“For this first year exporting the Partnership’s works, we set a goal of visiting five cities, and we’ve already toured 6 different works to 20 cities,” says Pierre Fortin, Executive Director of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership. “The model developed by the Ville de Montréal and the Partnership for the design and animation of public spaces has become a major source of inspiration for cultural districts around the world.”

A success story pointing toward new models

A year after the partnership launched the new program, every work currently offered for export is now on display in another city:

• “Loop” in Lugano
• “Iceberg”
• “Îlot de chaleur” in Detroit
• “Prismatica” in Scottsdale and Niagara Falls
• “Entre les rangs” for a second time in Durham, England
• “Impulse” in the cities listed below

The partnership now plans to step up the production of works created and premiered in Montreal before being offered for export, helping meet growing demand. The organization is therefore working to develop new business models and is seeking new financial partners to spur investment in the creation of participatory public art installations. The launch of new projects would help Montreal-based creators benefit from spinoffs and recognition through the presentation of their works around the world.

Increased production of new works will also attract creators who have not yet explored the design of installations or public artworks. The goal is to stimulate the creation and exhibition of original works that give a range of audiences compelling experiences that transform their relationship with the city.

“In urban planning and public administration circles in many cultural capitals, there is now a strong desire to rethink the city and create livelier, more playful spaces that offer more opportunities for people to interact, meet and share experiences,” says Rami Bebawi, architect with KANVA architecture. “The partnership’s export program has already demonstrated its soundness and relevance as a catalyst for that type of encounter between residents, art and urban space.”

Unique and recognized expertise

The partnership’s expertise in animating public spaces has grown considerably over the years. The process began with Luminothérapie in 2010, and continued with subsequent events such as Espace commun, Mégaphone and this year’s public art walk, KM3.

The idea of exporting the Quartier des Spectacles’ works emerged when the city of Brussels approached the partnership to present an immersive installation from Luminothérapie during the 12th annual Plaisir d’Hiver winter festival in 2013. As a result, the first work to be exported was “Iceberg” by ATOMIC3. The work, which invites the public to explore the life cycle of an iceberg, was a great success in Brussels. Then, members of the Global Cultural Districts Network, having observed the Quartier des Spectacles’ animation work with great interest, requested the opportunity to host various works.

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnerships productions are recognized for their quality and ability to spark the interest of a diverse audience, thanks especially to their participatory nature and their universal and inclusive themes. The partnership’s works are highly appreciated by citizens because they create opportunities to meet and share; they also help build the kind of relationship cities want to build with their residents.

The works and the cities visited

• Entre les rangs, Kanva Architecture — Cergy-Pontoise, France • Durham, UK • Chicago, USA
• Îlot de chaleur, ATOMIC3 (a co-production of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and Illuminart, for Montréal en lumière) — Detroit, USA • Toronto, Canada
• Impulse, Lateral Office & CS Design, in collaboration with EGP Group — Lugano, Switzerland • London, UK • Brussels, Belgium • Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, Scottsdale, USA • Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Canada • Jerusalem, Israel
• Loop, Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve & Ottoblix, a production of Ekumen and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership — Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Canada • Lugano, Switzerland • Chicago, USA
• Prismatica, Raw Design, in collaboration with ATOMIC3 — Calgary, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, Canada •
Scottsdale, Washington (DC), USA

The Quarter des Spectacles Partnership, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization that manages, animates and illuminates public spaces in the Quartier des Spectacles, and promotes the district as a must-visit cultural destination. It hosts, produces and exhibits innovative installations involving cutting-edge lighting design, immersive environments and interactive digital spaces.

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