Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The power of light: Aurora Borealis by Robert Lepage

Quebec´s silos. Picture by Michelle Loiselle
Those who live close to important harbors know how ugly the silos are, and worst of all, they block the view to the city and the sea. In Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, the view is enhanced with Calatrava’s bridge and the towers, but it feels different when you walk around. Impossible to hide they are industrial dark buildings. Here we have the examples of Puerto Madero and Bahia Blanca Harbor, also in Buenos Aires.
Silos at Puerto Madero and the Calatrava´s bridge. Picture from
Silos at Bahia Blanca Harbor. Picture from
And here is a bright solution in the city of Quebec, by Robert Lepage, the prolific artistic director responsible for such productions as Cirque du Soleil’s Kà in Las Vegas and the upcoming staging of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Quebec´s silos. Picture by Michelle Loiselle
“The massive grain-storage terminal blocks city views to the Saint Lawrence River, and Lepage has been staring at the 1,968-foot-long building since 1997, when he moved his production company, Ex Machina, into a converted firehouse facing its 81 silos. In 2008 he began to realize his vision.
Working with longtime collaborator Martin Gagnon, principal of Ambiances Lighting & Visual Design, Lepage created The Image Mill, a series of video images condensing Québec City’s 400-year history into 40 minutes, which he displayed around two outer walls of the structure using 27 freestanding Christie projectors. During its first season, the projection — presented by the City of Québec, with the Bunge of Canada and the Port of Québec, to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary — attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers.
This prompted the municipality to extend it for five summers — and to commission the designers to devise a new spectacle to add on to the work.
The resulting Aurora Borealis is a light installation that washes the Bunge with a re-creation of the northern lights via 574 LED luminaires integrated into the landmark. According to Gagnon, “Producing an impression of the northern lights is a project we’ve had in our pocket for a long time.” Aurora Borealis follows presentations of The Image Mill in the summer but is also shown during the rest of the year, from dusk until 11:30 p.m.”
Reference: Aurora Borealis. Ex Machina paints a luminous illusion
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