In summer, the area comes alive with water jets, sprinkling people that walk by or completely dousing those who just can’t take the heat. In winter, as I’ve now seen with my own eyes, the public space appears to have been invaded from outer space.
In an installation project called “Les Spheres Polaires” organized by Le Quartier des Spectacles, Lucion Media created glowing, lunar-like objects of varying sizes and scattered them in a seemingly random fashion, as if they had just fallen out of the sky and rolled into position. Lit from within with changing colours, some of these miniature planets contain moving mobiles that project images of oddball items like kitchen tools, or a cityscape with an airplane taking off into the sky. The music is pretty eerie with creepy industrial sounds, and slightly hypnotic; I’m surprised the little kiddies I saw there weren’t freaked out. I know I was. A little bit.
If you’re walking around, there are two other light sites to check out:
Le Champs de Pixel: A “giant, interactive human Lite Brite” (at Place Émilie-Gamelin, a.k.a. Berri Square, on Sainte-Catherine Street East between Berri and St-Hubert), it features rows of 300 tiny cones that become illuminated when you cycle on the Bixi bikes set up near the installation (15 minutes of human power translates into 30 minutes of light).
Saint-Jacques Church: The façade of this 19th century landmark (at 1423 Saint-Denis Street between Sainte-Catherine Street East and de Maisonneuve Street East) gets some light treatment from a rotating list of contributors, including L’Acte Lumière, Congo Bleu, the students from Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and the National Film Board of Canada.
Les Spheres Polaires
Place des Festivals and in front of Place des Arts
(Just off Sainte-Catherine Street West between de Bleury and Jeanne-Mance streets)
Dec. 15 to mid February