Over the last few years La Gaîté Lyrique has become one of the most well known venues for live visuals, serving as a place for musicians and other artists to work on special events that make use of the 360 projection space and skills of the resident on site team.
In this interview we are joined by Martial Gallorini, one of the video specialists currently working at La Gaîté Lyrique about the space, their production process and some of the artists they’ve hosted.
What is La Gaîté Lyrique and what do they do?
La Gaîté Lyrique is a former 19th century theater. After a long period of inactivity it was left abandoned and classified as historical monument. In the early 2000, it was re-built from the ground-up and it the re-opened to the public in 2011 as now a cultural center dedicated to digital art and cultures.
La Gaîté Lyrique is located in the center of Paris, France and is a polyvalent center where we attend about 1000 events a year, from smallest ones like workshops to big festivals.
We are running every types of events related to digital arts and emerging cultures like. The building is divided into main sites like an exhibition space, a small auditorium for film projections and conferences, a bar, a digital art dedicated library, video games booths, a small immersive room called La Petite Salle, and a concert hall called La Grande Salle which can accommodate about 750 people. Besides we also have exchanges with local schools to introduce creative coding and digital arts to young students.
We also host artists in residence and start-ups for them to work on their projects.
The special feature of the venue is La Grande Salle and its ability to run 360° projection shows using 8 video projectors. La Petite Salle can also do 360° video projection using 6 projectors.
In this concert hall we welcome private events, concerts, film festivals or music festivals.
For the record, here is some artists that we welcomed:
concerts : Atoms for Peace (Thom Yorke), Death in Vegas, Phoenix, Gran Daddy, Beat Assaillant, Christine and the queen, Zombie Zombie, Parquet courts, The Breeders, Terry Riley, Mondkopf...
exhibitions : Vincent Houzé, Matt Pyke, Stefan Sagmeister, Kyle McDonald...
What tools (hardware, software, other...) do you use in the creative process? How has this changed over the years?
I can only speak for my job which is leading the video department alongside my close collaborator David, but due to the aspect of very wide number and type of events, we need a lot of different hardware and software tools meet the needs of each type of event.
We have a fleet of video projectors from 3000 to 10 000 lumens and different aspect ratios and full HD screens. We also have plenty of media players like Mac minis, brightsign players, SD Card readers, cameras, streamers etc... And obviously due to the wide type of video signal types and sources with each their pros and cons, we do have a bunch of converters, matrices, extenders and different type of scalers.
With all those type of events and different artistic styles, we can't master every type of technology but we need to understand each project technically speaking and have a wide variety of skills. For instance, we are not motion designers, but we need to know a bit of After Effects to adapt contents to our infrastructures. We are not master coders, but we need to understand code and use it to adapt interactive installations and create tools to help control our devices...
For example, our day to day software tools are VDMX, Touchdesigner, Millumin, Resolume, Modulo Pi media servers Max/MSP, openFrameworks, Processing, Arduino... and protocols such as OSC, MIDI or NDI.
Honestly, we unfortunately don't have time to do much creative contents but we rather welcome artists and assist them with their needs and sometimes help them adapt their video installation for an exhibition or video content for a show.
From the start, we've been using Mac Pros and VDMX for projection purposes on concerts and video installations in exhibitions. Originally we were using 4 computers to play clips in sync clips in the concerts 360° setup but with the evolution of computers power it has become much easier and setting up a show has become a breeze and we can now save time for the artists to work on their show during sound checks.
Tell us about the most recent projects in development at La Gaîté Lyrique!
Well, La Gaîté Lyrique activity remains the same and we are still working hard on programming great shows and festivals. One of our next big project is setting up the incoming exhibition opening next March.
Technically speaking, the opening season's big challenge is the full upgrade of the La Grande Salle video infrastructure and workflow. We are upgrading our projectors to laser source technology and rework the whole signal infrastructure to HDBaseT and fiber optic. Unfortunately it is still a bit early right now, but still, we are working towards a base infrastructure that would be compatible with the foreseeable IP video distribution. For now we are using NDI where possible as a transition to IP world at low costs, and it is really great because NDI protocol is really spreading in the software and hardware industry, making a lot of soft / devices compatible. But i think the future is uncompressed or mezzanine compression video signal distribution will be the future as soon as we see an agreement for a standard.
If you live in Paris, or happen to be visiting, make sure to visit La Gaîté Lyrique for some amazing shows. You can also find more photos and videos on the La Gaîté Lyrique Instagram page.