Play with light and music outdoors at Luminothérapie

This article was updated on November 21, 2018.

As winter kicks off in Montréal, the city fills the seasonal darkness with light. This year, the annual interactive artwork of Luminothérapie gets everyone playing a giant game of dominoes outdoors, creating a festive glow and musical merriment in the heart of downtown.

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The 9th edition of Luminothérapie taps into Montréal’s affinity for technological innovation with a playfully artistic edge, turning Place des Festivals into an interactive (and highly Instagrammable) art playground from December 11 to January 27. While last year's Impulse had us riding illuminated musical see-saws, this year's Domino Effect lets us play with 120 luminous and larger-than-life dominoes, filling the urban outdoors with a symphony of sounds and lighting effects.

Lighting up winter nights in increasingly inventive ways has earned Montréal a reputation as a city of lights – with a high-tech twist. Domino Effect, created by Montréal-based design studio Ingrid Ingrid and collaborators Enrique Enriquez, LightFactor and Myriam Bleau, invites the public to play music together while lighting up the night. Topple, spin and drum the dominoes to reveal a rainbow of colours and an array of harmonic vocals, percussion, marimba, balafon and flute notes on different dominoes.

An added bonus in the same colour scheme as Domino Effect, the animation art of 100% Chance of Snow can be seen throughout the Quartier des spectacles, including on the facade of UQAM's Président-Kennedy Pavilion in Place des Festivals. The five lively projections, created by Nouvelle Administration and illustrator Cyrielle Tremblay, celebrate winter playtime, from hockey games to hibernating groundhogs.

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One of many winter holiday activities in Montréal – not to mention one of the free things to do this winter in Montréal – Luminothérapie turns the power on from noon until well after dark in Place des Festivals. Right next door, you'll find entertainment hub Place des Arts, where you can see Orchestre symphonique de Montréal concerts, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal’s The Nutcracker and more, and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, featuring immersive video work Manifesto by German artist Julian Rosefeldt and a retrospective of Québec artist Françoise Sullivan until January 20. Across Sainte-Catherine Street, check out the sparkling Complexe Desjardins Magic Kingdom, where kids can visit Santa, ride a mini train and carousel, see live theatre and music, and marvel at the massive fountain in the middle of the mall.

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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 after Luminothérapie, when the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE festival of food, art and culture lights up downtown with Illuminart in late 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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