In 2017, Montreal will celebrate its 375th anniversary. Honoring the city’s history is at the root of a new spectacular video projections adorning the streets and façades of Old Montreal. The duo, Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, two internationally acclaimed multimedia artists renowned for their work on Cirque du Soleil productions, have produced a touching and clever work of art. Described as a unique love poem to the city, “Cité Mémoire” (Memory City) offers a rich and textured look into Montreal’s past.
Projected on majestic walls, historic buildings, cobblestone streets and public squares, these 3D video projections add a poetic touch to the Old Port quarter, boosting its charm factor even higher. Seeing historical characters pop up on stone façades to tell their story is both surprising and impactful, theatrical and cinematic. Artistic murals comes to life in this glowing nighttime spectacle with famous characters like Émile Nelligan, one of Montreal’s most famous poets, hockey great Maurice Richard as well as unknown and unsung local heros. Playwright Michel Marc Bouchard wrote the dramatic script for each scene.
To accompany the projections and add dramatic and descriptive content, viewers can access the audio via a free app on their smartphone or tablet. No worries, there is a free Wi-Fi network (MtlWiFi) in Old Montreal, another advantage on the journey to becoming a smart city.
“For us, these people who dreamed the city are still embedded in the city. … Known and unknown, their souls are still in the walls. They come out from the walls and they talk to us. That was the first premise. And we also wanted people to go elsewhere in Old Montreal apart from Place Jacques-Cartier and the Old Port, and to discover architecture they might not know”; explains artistic director Michel Lemieux.
From funny to dramatic to somewhat haunting at times, each scene has its own personality with the city serving as its backdrop. For now the public can see eighteen vignettes with poetic, symbolic or musical undertones and at least four more will be added in 2017.
The clock Tower in the Old Port is the canvas on which we see a projection inspired by the song “Suzanne”, a nod to Montreal native Leonard Cohen.
Also impressive and a must see on Bonsecours Island in the Old Port is the projection, “The Faces of Montreal“. 375 Montrealers from different nationalities tell their story. The compelling work is projected onto voluminous trees.
“Cité Mémoire” is the world’s largest permanent narrative video projection. It operates ten months a year, from mid-May to mid-March, until 2019.
Philips Lighting is proud to have collaborated with “Cité Mémoire” to provide Philips Lumec RoadView LED Luminaires for street and area lighting in several of these sites.
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View VIMEO to experience Cité Mémoire 2016
All photos courtesy of Montréal en histoires /Jean-François Gratton: Shootstudio