November 2010

Using Art and Technology to Share Our History

For immediate release

Pointe-à-Callière launches an innovative multimedia show that takes a whole new look at Montréal history.

Montréal, November 1, 2010 – Yours Truly, Montréal, the new multimedia show at Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, is an eloquent example of how performance and virtual technological innovations can be used to share our history and archaeology.

An immersive experience
Yours Truly, Montréal is an immersive experience, as the in situ projection takes visitors into the heart of the action and the city’s history. The show, projected on a 270-degree screen and the remains themselves – authentic witnesses to Montréal's past – makes optimal use of the space by integrating the images, lighting and sound with the surrounding architecture.

“We have reached new heights in combining cutting-edge technology with a strong artistic vision, bringing the past and present together in a unique and significant site, while respecting its authenticity,” says Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History. “It is a spectacular voyage through time and space, presenting Montréal’s story using an artistic and technological approach. The show is also intended as a vibrant tribute to the city and to all the Montrealers who over the years have contributed to building the modern-day Montréal we love so much.”

A new perspective on Montréal history
Yours Truly, Montréal gives the city a voice and takes a whole new look at its past. Citing its worldwide renown as a crossroads of cultures and trade, Montréal celebrates its status as a hub at the centre of many networks. Visitors witness major historical periods and milestones, from the birth of the island to the arrival of Natives, the founding of the settlement and the presence of the French and English regimes, the flourishing French-Canadian population, the American influence, the modern era and the city’s openness to the world.

Recent discoveries shed light on Montréal’s past
To design and produce its multimedia show, Pointe-à-Callière turned to a consortium of three firms recognized for their expertise: the new-media studio Moment Factory, the exhibition design and production experts at gsmprjct°, and the Sid Lee advertising and marketing firm. With great attention to historical detail and accuracy, the Museum also worked with a scientific committee and some twenty expert historians from Montréal’s different universities in order to include the latest findings about Montréal's past. Some one hundred archival documents and images were used in creating the show.

A diversified artistic approach
The producers took a diversified artistic approach, using graphic treatment suited to the period in question for the different images and film footage, to make them seem more real while respecting their historical authenticity. The use of different chromatic palettes, the creation of a structure suited to different types of images, and the overall canvas for the show, with its millions of pixels, placed close to the audience, were all factors taken into consideration. The result is a visual feast using watercolours, animated photographs and naïve drawings, photo collages and time-lapse photography to integrate and superpose many different visuals and animated elements throughout the film. The use of 3-D mapping, allowing the projectors to detect the spatial volumetry and bringing the images to life as part of the natural décor, in this case the architectural and archaeological remains, creates a simply spectacular result. An original musical soundtrack accompanies the narration, while imparting a certain rhythm to the words. The text can be heard in eight different languages over the headphones, to give tourists and other visitors the best possible experience.

A high-performance multimedia theatre
To offer an optimal immersive experience, Pointe-à-Callière has updated the Hydro-Québec multimedia theatre. The innovative aspects of the new concept are the three large video screen surfaces, combining to form a 270-degree angle, and the way the images are projected on the remains themselves.

Viewers can also watch from the walkways, where the horizontal view offers an even more intense immersive experience, with an unusual perspective on the remains and the show.

A unique setting for artistic or corporate events
The theatre, with room for 185, can now be converted – a mobile stage has been installed above the remains. Hidden beneath the rows of seats, it can be quickly extended to accommodate a wide variety of events, from artistic performances to lectures, corporate presentations and private events.

These facilities make the theatre one of the most technologically advanced spaces in Montréal. Access to spaces housing the Museum’s authentic remains, on Montréal’s very birthplace, makes the site exceptionally attractive.

Pointe-à-Callière has also published a prestigious boxed set to accompany the new multimedia show, illustrated with the visuals designed by Moment Factory for the show. A website will also be on-line soon, with educational interactive games and informative content relating to the city’s history.

The Yours Truly, Montréal multimedia show was made possible with funding from the city of Montréal and the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine du Québec, under the Agreement on the cultural development of Montréal, the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire du Québec, the Department of Canadian Heritage, Hydro-Québec and the Pointe-à-Callière Foundation.

About Pointe-à-Callière
Pointe-à-Callière, the only major archaeology museum in Quebec and all of Canada, is a museum complex rising above a concentrated number of national historic and archaeological sites that illustrate the history of Montréal, Quebec and the rest of Canada. It opened in 1992, to mark the 350th anniversary of the founding of Montréal. Pointe-à-Callière’s mission is to bring visitors to know and appreciate the history of Quebec’s metropolis and to forge bonds with local communities and regional, national and international networks concerned with archaeology, history and urban issues.

Production team
Executive Director :
Francine Lelièvre

Project Manager :
Anne Élisabeth Thibault

Concept/production :
Moment Factory/ gsmprjct°

Script :
Pierre Szalowski

Scientific committee :
Sylvie Dufresne, Paul-André Linteau, Raymond Montpetit

Technology committee :
Luc Courchesne, Hervé Fischer, Monique Savoie

Website and visual image:
Sid Lee

The Museum wishes to thank all the organizations, volunteers, companies and individuals who so kindly contributed to this project, and all its employees for their valuable assistance in producing the show.

The Museum's operations are subsidized by the city of Montréal.