Editorial at Digitalarti Media

The Library at Night: virtual reality immersion into libraries


The Library at Night is a virtual exploration of 10 of the world’s most fascinating libraries. It was designed by the Ex Machina production company and its artistic director, multidisciplinary artist Robert Lepage, based on an original idea by BAnQ. This ambitious project uses the Oculus Rift virtual-reality technology to propose a voyage through time, and around the world, to 10 mythic places—an immersive and sensory adventure that involves both our intelligence and our memory.

As part of the festivities surrounding the Grand Bibliothèque’s 10th anniversary, Ex Machina has created, based on an original idea by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, an exhibition inspired by Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night. In this work, the Argentine-born Canadian author addresses the philosophical, logical, architectural and social dimensions that underlie any library’s existence. Multifaceted, The Library at Night offers visitors a museum-like, design-based and virtual immersion experience.

The Library at Night - Official Trailer 

Upon entering the first room, the visitor discovers a reproduction of Alberto Manguel’s library. This initial step allows the visitor to enter the author’s universe while adjusting to the relative darkness of the exhibition. The second room, the forest, is the heart of the scenographic experience. Wandering through this wooded landscape, the visitor encounters a space that contrasts with the order and rigour that characterize libraries. There the visitor will find stations where, by means of glasses using a 360° immersion technology, he will be transported to a virtual reality. 

The Ex Machina team offers a personalized scenography with 10 libraries, real or imagined. Visitors don headsets using 360° video immersion technology that take them from Sarajevo's National and University Library, magically risen from the ashes, to Mexico City’s Megabibliotheca, the stunning digital-age Biblioteca Vasconcelos, and from the legendary city of Alexandria to the bottom of the sea aboard Captain's Nemo Nautilus. There are a total of 10 famous places, both real and imaginary, to be visited on a one-of-a-kind journey for which BAnQ is your guide.

The Library at Night opens runs till Aug. 28, 2016 at the Grande Bibliothèque, 475 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E. Tickets cost $5 for members and $10 for non-members. The exhibition is free Tuesdays after 5 p.m. (last visit at 8:30 p.m.) Allow at least an hour. You must reserve online HERE



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