Since its inauguration in 1930, the Jacques Cartier Bridge, crossing the Saint Lawrence River, has served Montrealers as the main transportation channel connecting the city to the south shore and beyond. The striking matrix of steel that makes up the bridge’s superstructure gave project leaders Moment Factory the initial idea for “Living Connections”, the lighting of the Jacques Cartier Bridge. Réalisations is one of six Montreal-based multimedia and lighting companies led by Moment Factory, to have collaborated and provided expertise to help this project reach its full potential, for Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., in celebration of Canada’s 150 and Montreal’s 375 anniversaries respectively.
Réalisations conceived the idea that big data should serve as a modulator for the bridge lighting program, so that “Living Connections” would beat to the pulse of the city’s own live data stream. The base color of the bridge changes a little each day to encompass a full spectrum of hues over the course of a year. Big data input directs the more intricate movements of illumination coming from LED lights mounted on the exterior of the superstructure. Réalisations was responsible for the data collection, integration programming and software, SENS.ei Data, that animate the lighting points on the Jacques Cartier Bridge. To bring this to life, Réalisations provided support for the identification and collection of this information in real time. This technology sustains the spirit of Montreal within the public art installation, making this project unique to all other bridge illumination projects.
SENS.ei Data tracks fifty-three individual types of data within eleven categories, including but not limited to various kinds of traffic, weather and ambient sound, as well as social media activity in and about the city. In addition to the design and programming of the capture systems, the interface for consultation and the selection of data, Réalisations supervised the production and integration phases as well as the training of site operators.
Réalisations would like to thank Moment Factory and the following collaborators who made this project possible:
- Ambiances Design Productions
- Éclairage Public/ Ombrages
- Lucion Média
- UDO Design
The Jacques Cartier Bridge has always been a fundamentally practical and symbolic artery of human connection and activity. So too does the collection, interpretation and expression of data intrinsically connect the lighting of the Jacques Cartier Bridge to Montrealers themselves, making "Living Connections" an unprecedented interactive public art installation which will serve Montrealers for years to come. Réalisations is confident that by combining data and art, "Living Connections" will propel Montreal forward into the digital age and allow us to understand the information gathered from the project in new and unexpected ways.