With 95 video projectors, almost as many speakers, 12,000 m2 of the projection surface and 120 km of optical fiber in its imposing underwater base, Bordeaux will acquire in April the “largest digital art center in the world” according to its designer.
“Bordeaux is proud to be one of the rare cities to offer this unique spectacle”, underlined the mayor Nicolas Florian at the time of Wednesday a presentation to the press of “Basins of lights”.
This digital art center, managed by the private organization Culturespaces, which is already piloting “L’Atelier des lumiere” in Paris and “Carrieres de lumiere” in Baux-de-Provence, aims to attract 400,000 visitors the first year.
These are works by painters Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee that will be the first projected in this atypical place with exceptional dimensions that is the underwater base, designed by the Nazis to serve as + garage + for their “U-boats” during the World War II and built in particular by forced workers, like Spanish Republicans who took refuge in France.
The space, monumental, consists of four parallel basins (“alveoli”) 110 meters long and 12 meters high and can be crossed by walkways on the water to encourage free wandering in the heart of an immersive experience where the works digital sound systems that slide on walls and other media are reflected on the liquid surface.
“We wanted to keep the identity of the place, its soul. It was an adventure not obvious given this raw concrete building,” said Augustin de Cointet, CEO of Culturespaces, whose company has invested 14 million euros in this project which will be launched on April 17. “We wanted something beautiful and strong for Bordeaux,” he says.
“Digital is a mediation tool that makes sometimes complex works more accessible, this place has a popularization mission,” said Fabien Robert, first deputy mayor and in particular responsible for culture.
Part of the submarine base is already accessible to the public and includes a space for temporary exhibitions (currently under construction) but the Bordeaux city hall intends to continue to revitalize this new asset of Bordeaux heritage and its 600,000 m3 of concrete.
The municipality has launched a call for projects for the other five water basins and Mr. Florian hopes to see growing on his huge bomb-proof roof (9 m thick) the “largest hanging vegetable patch in France”.