Loop is the latest installation to be featured as part of the city of Montréal’s Luminothérapie winter celebrations on the Place des Festivals in the city’s cultural center, the Quartier des Spectacles. On view through January 29, 2017, the “illuminated musical installation” is composed of 13 giant zoetropes, and is produced by Ekumen and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership.
Created by artists Olivier Girouard and Jonathan Villeneuve in collaboration with Ottoblix, each of the 13 giant zoetropes, or wheels, is outfitted with 24 images to tell a different fairy tale. (A zoetrope is a cylinder with a filmstrip-like sequence of still images that is quickly spun thereby causing the images to appear animated.) Loop took three months to design and 800 hours to assemble. Additional contributors were Generique Design, Jérôme Roy, and Thomas Ouellet Fredericks.
Visitors are invited to sit inside the two-meters-in diameter (6-1/2 feet) zoetropes/wheels and activate the mechanism—a pump-powered railway handcar—which starts the turning motion. As the wheels start spinning, they light up and the still images take on an animated quality. The black and white images are accompanied by a flickering strobe effect and music. The images can be seen from both inside and outside the wheels, and from near and far away. How fast the images move and the lights pulse, depends on how quickly the participants can move the hand lever and spin the zoetrope.
In addition to Loop, video projections by Ottoblix are shown on the two adjacent buildings that overlook the Place des Festivals: UQAM’s Pavillon Président-Kennedy, and, for the first time, the new Wilder Building Espace Danse. The projections incorporate characters and settings found in fairy tales and images that speak to the idea of a zoetrope loop.
“We were inspired by the mechanical poetry of the zoetrope to give the public—thanks to digital technology—an extraordinary immersive experience,” said Olivier Girouard and Jonathan Villeneuve. “It will be interesting to see how each person responds, but in any case we want to stimulate everyone’s imagination and encourage all to participate, helping people see public space differently. Loop looks simple, but it is technically complex. It is not the work of one person, but of an imaginative and enthusiastic team. Without them, the project could not have been completed.”
Loop is on view through January 29, 2017, and is open Sunday through Wednesday from noon to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.