Le Cent Quatre (104) is an exciting new international arts space opening in Paris’s 19th arondissment this coming autumn where 10,000 visitors were treated to La Traversee (The Crossing)—a two-day sneak preview of the project featuring a series of specially-commissioned interactive video installations with hardware, software, material, control, and expertise—all supplied by projection specialists E/T/C Paris and Cosmo AV.
The 26,000-sq-m glass ceiling, arcade style interior of 104 stretches from 104 rue d’Aubervilliers all the way through to rue Curial on the other side.
For La Traversee lighting designer Jean-François Touchard came up with the concept to highlight the space using lighting and video in inventive and provocative ways. Invoking a scheme that bathed the interior of 104 with colors and textures, Touchard created shadow play and other ephemeral lighting effects. He worked closely with Cosmo AV director Pierre-Yves Toulot who produced the video content.
The main video feature consisted of two of E/T/C Paris’s Christie 20K HD video projectors controlled via OnlyView 3, the latest version of E/T/C’s multimedia control platform, projecting footage onto the 14m high x 20m wide back wall of the space.
Positioned on 5m high platforms approximately 30m away from the back wall, the projectors ran up to eight 20-second sequences that were stored as “shows” on the two OnlyView servers. These were randomly triggered by guests walking into four pools of light situated further down the hall.
The 1m square light pools were created by four tightly shuttered profile spots. Each one had a camera rigged above it, linked via MIDI running on a Mac Book Pro, to the grandMA lighting console, which in turn fired the OnlyView running the video loops.
In between any of the sequences being triggered, the projectors defaulted to a show programmed with architectural material consisting of white-on-black images mirroring the building’s structure, animated to give the illusion of backwards and forwards movement through the arcade.
Rather than using traditional video editing software to do this, Toulot took a series of still images and animated them in OnlyView. Had these images actually been video sequences, any modifications (speed, direction, etc) would have required re-rendering, already a long process during pre-production and virtually impossible to accomplish onsite. As OnlyView works in real time, editing and updating instantaneously, no time was wasted in this process. Toulot also took advantage of OnlyView 3’s brand new programming features, including key frame animations and dynamic warping, to build the show.
Cosmo AV’s team also included video designers Rodolfo Saavedra and Xavier Mailliez, OnlyView programmer Joseph Christiani, and producer Jacques Nougaret. The company has worked closely with E/T/C’s R&D department on the development of OnlyView.
Nougaret comments, “Key OnlyView features are its great flexibility and the timeline infinity which allows the running of media in many different formats using a countless amount of layers. For this job, we also needed a system that could be MIDI-triggered.”
An additional spatial dimension to the installation was an elevated viewing gallery in 104, featuring a 30m x 15m shallow pool of water surrounded by gangways on all four sides. All of the lighting and projections were reflected in this vast “water mirror” as they bounced off the building’s glass ceiling, adding an extra touch of magic to the surroundings.
There were also several exterior video installations during La Traversee, for which E/T/C Paris supplied assorted video equipment and plasma screens, including a Barco G5 projector for an interactive dance game at the rue Curial entrance.
Once operational, the 104 will be curated by Robert Cantarella and Frédéric Fisbach. Dedicated to art of all types, it will include a large number of workshops, screening rooms, living quarters, theatre and studio spaces, event rooms, restaurants, and boutiques.