Presented by the National Film Board of Canada and the Quartier des spectacles A Moment Factory creation staged by Étienne Paquette
Montreal, Canada, 2013-09-15 -
The National Film Board of Canada, the Quartier des spectacles and Moment Factory present a unique interactive installation unlike any ever seen before: Megaphone. When the sun goes down, public speaking comes together with art and technology in this collective work that gives voice to Montreal residents. Their words are carried loud and clear by megaphone, and then transformed into original visuals that are projected onto an enormous facade in downtown Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles district. This powerful sensory installation pushes the limits of interactive technology and brings people into the public sphere—out of the privacy of social media, personal living spaces and the social margins. It runs from September 4 to November 4.
Megaphone is inspired by movements seeking to give voice to the people, such as the large popular assemblies of the early 20th century and London’s Speakers’ Corners, which opened in the 19th century. It is a call for mobilization, expression, and debate. Every night, through a series of rich and varied events, organizations and public figures will participate in this experience by taking on subjects in the news that will provoke residents to get out of the silent world of social media and take their turns at the microphone. Parallel to the installation, Megaphone also offers a visual and audio exhibition on the great orators who have marked the history of Quebec; it is sure to inspire anyone who appreciates the art of public speaking.
An unprecedented collaboration Megaphone grew out of an initiative by the NFB and the Quartier des spectacles, inviting individual artists, collectives and production companies to submit an interactive installation project that would spark thought about reconciling the personal and the collective. Moment Factory’s Megaphone was the jury’s unanimous selection, thanks to the project’s edgy, urban vitality.
There are a number of factors that have come together to make Megaphone—an unprecedented collaboration among its producers and creators—possible. Those factors include the technological infrastructure of the Quartier des spectacles and the bold decision to give residents complete freedom of speech for a public project in the heart of downtown; the NFB’s continued mission to produce groundbreaking work with socially engaged content; and the creative use of envelope-pushing technologies by the multimedia artists at Moment Factory.
The technology that makes Megaphone possible Captured through a microphone installed on the Promenade des Artistes, the voices of Megaphone participants will affect the imagery projected onto UQAM’s President Kennedy building, in real time. At the same time, the speaker’s words will also be transferred to a voice-recognition system specially developed for Megaphone by the Centre de recherche informatique de Montréal (CRIM). A second, delayed transcription of the words will then be used to enhance the visual space as well as feed the database that informs the video content projected when the megaphone is not in use. This will effectively reflect what has been said while providing an overall picture of the sound clips that have been stored.
About the NFB The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Canadian Screen Awards, 7 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.
The Quartier des spectacles The Quartier des spectacles has been the cultural heart of Montreal for over a century. Today, it’s also a hub of economic, urban and cultural development that builds on its many strengths to consolidate Montreal’s position as a major cultural city. Alive, creative, open to artistic and cultural diversity, the Quartier has something for everyone, from lovers of digital art to fans of world music. At all times of the day, 12 months a year, Montrealers and visitors flock to its 80 venues, its more than 40 festivals and its seven public spaces. Located in a unique urban setting that stands out for its bold lighting design, the Quartier des spectacles is a key destination for encountering the excitement of culture. For more information, visit quartierdesspectacles.com
Moment Factory Moment Factory is a new media and entertainment studio specialized in designing and producing multimedia environments that provide memorable experiences through a combination of video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects. With over 300 projects to its credit since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has developed a unique expertise. Its clients to date include Cirque du Soleil, Disney, Nine Inch Nails, Microsoft, Euronews, the Atlantic City Alliance, the City of Barcelona, Madonna and the Los Angeles International Airport.