Martin Laviolette | The techno “project maker”

The International Symposium on Electronic Art brings together thousands of people from dozens of countries every year. It is an unmissable event for digital art enthusiasts and creators. This year it takes place in Barcelona. And the key event of this 27the Output will be the projection of one of the paintings by city ​​of memory, by artists Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, produced by H2Emotion. In short, Montreal’s talent and know-how will be showcased in this fabulous city every night from June 14th to 16th.

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The painting chosen is the one that is normally projected onto the huge wall of the Montreal Courthouse. It lasts 35 minutes and evokes the Indian presence, the French regime, the British conquest and ends with contemporary Montreal.

In Barcelona, ​​it is projected onto the façade of the Sant Pau de la Recinte Modernista Hospital, a magnificent early 20th-century building.e Century, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is not far from the Sagrada Família. It is one of the most visited places in the capital of Catalonia.

Before he flew to Spain with Michel Lemieux (tests were done over the weekend), I wanted to meet Martin Laviolette, the man standing in the shadows city ​​of memory. With its 200 projectors, this local project is the longest video projection course in the world.

Martin Laviolette comes from the community and is a pure Montrealer. Originally from Montreal North, he was one of the first street workers to join the organization Rue Action Prévention Jeunesse. This hyperactive (he was already a junior hockey player in Europe) then founded FestiBlues in 1997, whose trains he ran for 19 years.

I see myself as a project designer. If someone entrusts me with something, I like to see it through.

Martin Laviolette, producer of city ​​of memory

While employed by the City of Montreal as a social development consultant for the Ahuntsic-Cartierville district, he was told about a project for a “festival of history.” The year is 2006. He takes the ball at the jump.

“I thought long and hard about what could become of it and came up with this sentence: ‘A historical event in a contemporary corpus.’ It was blurry but I had a direction. »

Armed with this sentence, one evening he invited Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon to steak frites on the Rue Saint-Denis. “During the meal, someone said: ‘The walls are talking to us,’ Martin Laviolette recalls. It clicked. I like setting off the spark and then seeing things explode. It is my joy to let artists dream. »

Technological art, which holds few secrets for Lemieux and Pilon, takes on the project in the form of lyrical paintings projected on blind walls or on the floor, telling parts of our story.

Once the concept was established, playwright Michel Marc Bouchard was recruited. The team gets to work. The NPO H2Emotion is founded. 2016, a year before the 375e Montreal anniversary, 19 paintings unveiled in Old Montreal. Today it is 28.

To date, no less than $28 million has been poured into this project, which is attracting the interest of several cities around the world. “Only 12 to 18% of the money we receive comes from grants,” says Martin Laviolette. We cannot say that we are public money hogs. »

Martin Laviolette juggles multiple projects. He recently unveiled an interactive floor projection in the Pointe-aux-Trembles district. Presented at Place du Village-de-la-Pointe-aux-Trembles, this painting is the first to be presented in East Montreal.


H2Emotion recently presented an interactive floor projection in the district of Pointe-aux-Trembles.

Five-table courses will soon be established in other Quebec cities. Details will be announced shortly. Also, an intriguing augmented reality project called ON SITEa work by Michel Lemieux, will be open to the public and tourists from August.

After experiencing it with its creator for the first time, I can tell you that the result is absolutely stunning.

And then there is this project called Espace Saint-Denis that is under development. It will occupy an area of ​​3,500 square meters in the Cinéma du Quartier Latin building. There will be eight themed rooms focused on Montreal, combining artificial intelligence, the metaverse and projections.

“I admit I’m ambitious,” says Martin Laviolette. I’m stubborn too. But in all of this, I leave a lot of room for fun. It’s fundamental to me. »

I left Martin Laviolette telling myself that we have many talented creators in Quebec, but that we need more “project makers” like him. artists need them. And USA too.

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