Montréal, QC is steeped in Canada’s history. To mark its 375th year, Montréal en Histoires a non-profit organization, created Cité Mémoire. This groundbreaking multimedia project brought history to life through large-scale projections on trees, buildings, and cobblestone streets in Old Montreal.
The key challenge was creating an immersive and realistic visual experience for the viewers in order to highlight Montreal’s rich 375 years of history.
As the project was displayed outdoors and at night, it required projection technology and equipment that would be durable and able to withstand Montreal’s harsh weather conditions, while delivering stunning and exceptional image quality at the same time.
Different types and sizes of projected tableaux also required technology to be able to project one big image on different surfaces. The biggest projected tableau was covering an area of 4,645 m² (50,000 ft²).
As well, because projectors would be placed on top of buildings and in unexpected, hard to reach locations, long projection life, zero maintenance requirement, and the ability to control functions and monitor all projectors from one location was essential.
After considering the special project circumstances, outdoor projection, lighting requirements, and consultation with Panasonic Canada, it was decided that the Panasonic PT-RZ31K large venue laser projector with 30,000 lumens brightness would deliver the artists vision in a unique way in order to create the world’s largest permanent narrative video projection.
Panasonic’s projection technology enabled the Montréal en Histoires organization to wow audiences by showing the city’s evolution through exceptional projection mapping. The high-quality imagery delivered by Panasonic’s large venue laser projectors, even on the most challenging canvasses and in dark and cold conditions, enchanted tourists, residents and critics alike.
United to enable Montréalers, visitors, and tourists to discover, explore, and celebrate the city’s history, the non-profit Montréal en Histoires commissioned renowned multimedia artists Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon – in collaboration with award-winning playwright Michel Marc Bouchard – to develop vignettes using music and images, to be projected onto locations including the high walls of the Old Montréal Courthouse at night.
Known for their work with international sensations like the Cirque du Soleil troupe and artist Phillip Glass, the pair devise singular shows in which new technologies intensify the audience’s sensory and emotional experience, masterfully integrating theatre, film, dance, poetry, visual arts, music, and sound to create unique theatrical worlds.
Lemieux and Pilon worked the project for the five years, collaborating with Bouchard who wrote the dramatic script for each tableau, to bring to life a host of characters who contributed the city’s evolution and culture. Through their poetic, dreamlike, and occasionally playful art, the tableaux tell the stories of the city’s larger-than-life icons – including hockey legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Irish-Canadian tavern owner and philanthropist Joe Beef, and Montreal first public librarian Éva Circé-Côté – through images, words and music.
Powered by Panasonic large venue projectors, the Montréal en Histoires exhibit captivated, educated, and inspired visitors and exceeded the artists’ expectations.
“When we chose Panasonic, we knew we were getting the best laser technology in the world, but it was still a surprise to see such power, vibrancy and quality coming out of those 30K projectors,” said Marc Randoll, Executive Director and key decision maker for the project.
Another important concern was that having technology that could be continuously used for the four-year duration of the exhibition without requiring downtime or extensive maintenance.
“The Panasonic projectors were very easy to set up making it very easy for us,” Randoll said. “With more than 400-500 hours of use expected throughout the installation, we knew laser projectors were the right choice and found the Panasonic technology to be best in class.”
Lemieux, Pilon and Bouchard also unveiled three new additions to Cité Mémoire at Montreal’s historic Queen Elizabeth Hotel. As the first indoor tableaux for Cité Mémoire, the urban multimedia experience reflects the history of this institution and the city. With the use of Panasonic’s laser projection technology, guests can enjoy the exhibit day and night.