Play with light and music outdoors at Luminothérapie

Robyn Fadden

As winter kicks off in Montréal, the city fills with light: from holiday markets to the interactive art of Luminothérapie. This year, the annual event gets everyone playing outdoors on incredible high-tech see-saws, creating a festive glow and musical merriment in the heart of downtown.

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The 8th edition of Luminothérapie taps into Montréal’s affinity for technological innovation with a playfully artistic edge, turning Place des Festivals into an interactive art playground from November 30, 2017 to January 28, 2018. This year's installation, Impulse, fills the downtown outdoor space with 30 illuminated seesaws fitted with LED lights and speakers. Just hop on a seesaw to make beautiful sounds and lighting effects in concert with others.

Inspired by Montrealers’ love of outdoor play no matter what the weather, the designers of Impulse – Lateral Office and CS Design in collaboration with EGP Group – aimed to create a cheerful gathering place for all, exploring ideas of rhythm, repetition, variation, intensity and calm. The more people who play on the motion-activated seesaws, the more the sound and light changes, becoming a collective composition in the open air. An added bonus: look up at the façade of the nearby Pavillon Président-Kennedy pavilion to see the planets of an imagined solar system in architectural video projection Les Lointaines by Gentilhomme.


One of many winter holiday activities in Montréal – not to mention one of the free things to do this winter in Montréal – Luminothérapie happens from noon until well after dark, so you can ride an illuminated see-saw right before your dinner reservation, after you've seen a show at Place des Arts, while having a warm late-night drink (yes, there's a bar), or once you've perused the locally made wonders and entertainment at outdoor market Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal, one of Montréal's many Christmas markets. Meanwhile across the street and indoors, the Complex Desjardins Magic Kingdom entertains and delights with a mini train, carousel, visits with Santa, musical performances and more.

A showcase for primarily local artists, Luminothérapie grew out of Montréal’s participation in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, a global network exchanging ideas on innovative urban culture. Montréal's winter inventiveness continues shortly after Luminothérapie, when the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE festival of food, art and culture lights up downtown with ILLUMINART in February. The festival within a festival features local technological art and brings international work to Montréal in the name of interactivity, immersion and a healthy dose of brightly-lit inspiration.


Robyn Fadden

Robyn Fadden, blogger

Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.

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