On June 10, 2020, a new exposition, called Bassins de Lumières, opened in Bordeaux, France. The exposition invites audiences to discover the fine art of Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee in the unexpected setting of a former World War II submarine base. The famous artwork has been recreated by digital artists and is being brought to life by more than 100 Barco projectors as a visually astounding spectacle.
Located in a former World War II submarine base facing the Atlantic Ocean, Bassins de Lumières offers an overwhelming, immersive experience devoted to major names in the history of contemporary art. In the first exhibitions, art of Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee is projected in moving images onto the monumental architecture of the submarine base and reflected in the water of four enormous basins. Visitors can virtually walk into the artwork, by gangways and along the quays of the basins.
“Bassins de Lumières offers a totally unique, sensory experience, including projected video, light and sound,” says Augustin de Cointet de Fillain, Director of Bassins de Lumières and Culturespaces Digital, the exposition organizer. “The mix of the location, the recreated artwork from Klimt and Klee, and the superb image quality of Barco projectors make this exposition an unequaled experience.”
Culturespaces has a history of many years working with Barco projectors. But this time, the enormity of the submarine base structure and available projection surface – almost 14,000 m2 – made the organization decide to pull out all stops when it comes to projection technology.
Culturespaces opted for Barco’s F80-Q12, G60-W10 and UDX-W32 laser projectors. “We already knew the quality of Barco projectors from our previous projects: they are stable, reliable and offer great images from edge to center. And most importantly, Barco projectors enable us to truthfully present the colors how the original artist meant them to be.”
The WQXGA resolution of the F80-Q12 allowed Culturespaces to present more pixels and thus offer amazing colors and detail, even from long viewing distances. While the UDX-W32 was ideal to enliven the center’s largest walls, the G60-W10 perfectly answered the need for images projected at shorter viewing distances.
Remote image quality monitoring
With an exposition that runs 12 hours a day, for many months on end, stable image quality is a must. Fortunately, the quality of the more than 100 projector units can be monitored remotely on a 24/7 basis, along a wide variety of imaging parameters. Whenever an anomaly occurs, the Culturespaces technical team is immediately notified.
But even with remote system monitoring, the support of the Barco maintenance team has proven to be invaluable, according to Mr. de Cointet de Fillain: “Barco has always been very responsive to our questions. Bassins de Lumières is a complex project, with over 100 projectors, and we cannot afford to have issues during the exposition. But the quality of the projectors and the readiness of the Barco team have made this exposition a success.”
Reactive Barco support
“The enormity of the Bassins de Lumières project was definitely challenging, as was the humidity of the submarine environment, but Barco always helped us to find solutions. As a creative organization, we also value that Barco takes our feedback into account when it comes to thinking about their future product roadmap.”
“Although technology needs to be reliable, this exposition is not about technology in and of itself. With the quality of the Barco projectors in mind, we needn’t worry about technology, which has enabled our visual artists to fully focus on the creative side of things.”
Augustin de Cointet de Fillain
Director of Culturespaces Digital & Bassins de Lumières