The gigantic interactive work
Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters by Mathias Gmachl
headlines the 12th edition of Luminothérapie

Press Release | For immediate release

Montreal, November 30, 2021 – The 12th edition of Luminothérapie will present, for the first time in Canada, the monumental interactive artwork Echoes - a voice from uncharted waters by Austrian multidisciplinary artist Mathias Gmachl from December 2 to February 6, 2022. The work is a majestic, 5-tonne, 17-metre steel whale, co-produced in collaboration with MuseumsQuartier Wien in Vienna, Austria, and LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura in Lugano, Switzerland. Symbolizing the importance of taking action to protect ecosystems, it will occupy Place des Festivals starting this Thursday.

"With Echoes - a voice from uncharted waters, I want to provide an open space - a platform - for the public to have conversations about the future of our planet. Not just about whales, but of all life that exists. The need to create room to learn, and dream, of a better future feels more pressing than ever. The installation is my small contribution towards a larger shift in the narratives and actions needed," asserts Mathias Gmachl, the artist behind the design and production of the artwork.

The result of an international call for proposals for the creation of a public artwork for presentation in Vienna, Lugano and Montreal, Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters was designed and built over a 12-month period in collaboration with marine biologists, for the greatest possible realism. The interactive installation invites us to consider the impact of everyday human activities on nature and the environment through the use of sensors that detect visitors and use data to control the soundscape and animated illumination. By interacting respectfully with the marine mammal’s vital space, the public is immersed in an enigmatic melodic world. When people get too close, an audible reaction is triggered that gradually reduces the whale’s sounds and lights until they vanish, inviting reflection on the ill effects of human incursions into the Earth’s natural ecosystems. How far away do we have to stay to protect the whale?


Presented as part of Luminothérapie, 12th edition

December 2, 2021 to February 6, 2022
Monday to Thursday: Noon to 10 p.m.
Friday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Facebook event


Design and production: Mathias Gmachl
Special thanks: Jana Winderen, Roosa Tulvio, James Fox, Jon Wozencroft and James Solly

A co-production of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, the MuseumsQuartier Wien (Vienna, Austria) and LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura (Lugano, Switzerland)


The amenities and installations that comprise Luminothérapie were designed with public health in mind, including physical distancing. These experiences allow visitors to live and relax safely in the Quartier des Spectacles. The Partnership urges all Montrealers to follow recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.


  • Public transportation: numerous STM bus routes and more than 10 metro stations on the green and orange lines serve the area. 

  • Cycling: four-season bike paths and lanes run through the downtown area.

  • Driving: free street parking on weeknights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from December 3 to January 2.

  • The area includes accommodations for people with reduced mobility. Please see individual venue websites for details. 


Luminothérapie is Quebec’s largest competition for temporary public art installations. Each year, Luminothérapie presents an original, interactive and captivating winter experience in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles with a major installation in Place des Festivals. In 2020 and 2021, special editions took place in the Quartier, with a series of installations and a moment of sound and light for an extended experience. Luminothérapie seeks to spur creativity in the design of urban installations and digital art. Several cultural districts around the world have shown interest in its interactive art installations created for public spaces by local artists and creators. Since 2016, 12 works created for the Quartier des Spectacles have been exhibited on nearly 100 occasions in more than 50 cities in Canada and around the world.

To learn more about the competition, and for a list of previous years’ winners, see the Luminothérapie press kit. 


The Quartier des Spectacles is Montréal’s cultural heart, boasting North America’s most concentrated and diverse group of cultural venues as well as numerous festivals and events. The Quartier also hosts innovative urban installations involving cutting-edge lighting design and immersive environments. The Quartier des Spectacles has become an international showcase for digital public art.

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership, founded in 2003, is a non-profit organization with more than 85 members active in the district. It is responsible for animating the Quartier des Spectacles by programming cultural activities, managing and animating public spaces, providing distinctive illumination and promoting the Quartier as a must-visit cultural destination. The Partnership benefits from the support of the Ville de Montréal. 

More information:

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The media are invited to the official opening of the 12th edition of Luminothérapie on Thursday, December 2 at 5 p.m. in Place des Festivals. The event will be preceded by a guided tour of the entire Luminothérapie event, with the artists in attendance, the same day from 4 to 5 p.m.


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Quartier des Spectacles Partnership
Mélanie Mingotaud 
Communications Mingotwo
(514) 582-5272