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It’s up to you to make the invisible visible

November 10, 2015

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Do you have an idea for an interactive project in the public spaces of the Quartier des Spectacles? With Making the Invisible Visible, the National Film Board (NFB) and the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership are issuing a call for ideas aimed at creative people of all kinds. The goal: finding a concept for an interactive work that will shed light on a social change that’s invisible to us now but will have a profound impact in the near future. The winning project will be documented throughout, from selection to initial presentation to re-staging in cities around the world. Whether you’re a choreographer, architect, engineer, scriptwriter or fashion designer, take a chance and put your ideas out there!

Hugues Sweeney, executive producer of the NFB’s interactive studio, and Pascale Daigle, director of programming for the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, spoke to us about the call for ideas, which aims to produce a participatory and interactive project by the summer of 2017.

The finalists for the Making the Invisible Visible call for ideas have been revealed!

  • Climatic, a project of Yannick Guéguen
  • L’effet papillon, of Sylvain Dumais, Jonathan Belisle, Franck Desvernes and Marianne Prairie
  • Peinture d’âme, of Konsortium (Alexandre Roche, Célia Molinari, Eric Perreault-Chamberland, Jonathan Chartier, Thierry Dummont and Vincent L.Richard)
  • Siren, of Chomko & Rosier
  • Thanks for Sharing, of Atelier de la commune (Jeffrey Ma, Chris Ilg, David Goyne, Greg Fenske and Shaheen Namvary)



Why did you choose the theme of “making the invisible visible”?

Hugues Sweeney: Today’s social transformations are difficult to discern and are much more complex, intertwined and underground than those of the 60s or 70s, for example. Consider the changes in fields like finance or computing, which are imperceptible or hard to understand when we don’t have the keys to decode them. And yet these changes are transforming the world we live in, along with our behaviour. We want artists to propose ideas that represent a significant social change. The concept will go on to be represented materially, in a living and visible way, in a public space.


This is the fourth collaboration between the NFB and the Quartier des Spectacles on a public interactive installation. How do the two organizations’ respective areas of expertise complement each other for producing this kind of work?

Pascale Daigle: We know the territory, the environment and the public spaces, and we are producers and presenters of interactive installations. The NFB, which creates digital works, has a perfect understanding of narrative. Combining our respective expertise leads naturally to interactive productions for public spaces.

H.S.: For the NFB, public space is a very interesting zone for working and experimenting, at a time when media are increasingly removed from traditional screens like television sets and even computers. The Quartier des Spectacles and the NFB also both want to support local talent and help it gain exposure around the world.

th anniversary of the birth of Canada’s most famous animation filmmaker, Normand McLaren. Filmakers and creators from around the world were invited to celebrate his heritage through original video works inspired by McLaren’s films. Photo: "McLarena", by Daily tous les jours, Saint-Laurent Metro Station. "Phonophotopia", by Kid Koala and Hololabs, Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts." />


Other big cities program activities for public spaces, but having their works tour internationally is a relatively new idea. What kind of challenge does that represent in this case?

P.D.: There are several factors to consider when exporting a work, and often, when we want to send works on tour, we have to deal with constraints particular to each city, since they don’t all have the same infrastructure for hosting works. The projects were created for a specific time and place. Not all of them have the opportunity to be able to make use of a set of nine permanent architectural video projection sites! Incidentally, one of the reasons we’re documenting this project is to allow potential partner cities to comment on the creative process and ask questions while it’s ongoing. So we need flexible works that can be adapted to a variety of settings. People who submit ideas must think in terms of a project that can travel.


With Making the Invisible Visible, you’ve chosen to document the project from selection through production. Why do you want to put a spotlight behind the scenes?

H.S.: It’s only fairly recently that cities, especially in North America, have chosen to present works designed specifically for public spaces. With this project, we want to learn more about the process of exporting interactive works created for those spaces. It’s a real challenge, and we want to share what we learn with artists, the industry and the culture community overall.

P.D.: After three co-productions with the NFB (Megaphone, McLaren Wall-to-Wall and Common Space?), we realized that it was difficult to export works, whether because of their large size or the specialized equipment required for presenting them. By putting the ability to export the work up front in the call for ideas, which is in itself a relatively mysterious part of the process, we’re underlining the importance of extending a work’s life. We want to ensure that this aspect is better understood, so that it can inspire other producers.

To not miss anything on the project Making the Invisible Visible

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER (on the third page) and follow the evolution of the works, from the call for ideas to the selection process, right through to development and production. >

Making the Invisible Visible

Registration closes on November 20 at noon,
and the deadline for submitting ideas is November 27 at noon


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