• Contemplating the natural world at Fondation Cartier

Contemplating the natural world at Fondation Cartier

Panasonic Visual Systems help create 'the great animal orchestra' at Fondation Cartier Pour L'Art Contemporain, Paris

Located in an airy modern glass building in Paris' 14th arrondissement, the Fondation Cartier is a centre for contemporary art with 12,000 square feet of exhibition space. Embracing all fields of contemporary art, the museum is a home for new and established artists alike and typically holds around three exhibitions a year. 

‘The Great Animal Orchestra’ is the most recent exhibition at the museum. It was inspired by the work of American musician and sound engineer Bernie Krause, who developed a passion for the wild sounds and the audible characteristics of nature.

Krause has travelled around the world recording and studying the soundscape of the natural world, not only for its sheer beauty and diversity, but also to observe the evolution of biodiversity and of wild territories in a rapidly changing era. Krause’s work can also be seen as an archive of a world that is slowly disappearing, overpowered by the noise and environmental impact of human activity.

Although stirred by Krause’s audio work, the exhibition makes extensive use of the visual form, using work from artists around the world and creating a ‘double intertwining orchestra’ for visitors to experience as the audible and visual come together.

One highlight is an 18 metre long piece, 'White Tone', by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, created in gunpowder on paper which was then spectacularly set alight. The resulting burn marks intricately depict an array of different wild animal species gathered around a watering hole, in a style evocative of prehistoric cave paintings.

Panasonic's audio visual technology is used to create slide show diaporamas and engaging projections alongside more traditional photographs and paintings displayed on canvas.  

In the central room of the exhibition, five Full HD TH-49LF80 and three 4K Panasonic TH-84LQ70 high brightness professional displays are used to showcase the work of Japanese photographer Manabu Miyazaki, and the video collection of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Miyazaki uses a camera trap to capture scenes that are fantastically close to nature. Exhibited for the first time outside Japan, visitors can see wild animals and humans sharing the same environment in the ultra high resolutions afforded by the 84" 4K Panasonic displays.

"4K was very important, Miyazaki's photographs have an incredible definition and there are many details that you can only appreciate at high resolution," said curator Thomas Delamarre. 

"We also wanted to try out the new laser projector equipment and we think they work very well"

When considering how to display the Cornell Lab's video collection of birds from New Guinea and Australia, the museum wanted visitors to feel like they were looking at photographs or paintings rather than a TV programme. The narrow bezel on the displays allows the work itself to remain front and centre, while the matt finish on the TH-49LF80 also eliminates distracting glare from the sun for an optimum viewing experience.

A display challenge

“The issue with a glass space is that it’s always tricky to show video and moving images with the daylight streaming in, but I also think it gives a lot of life to the works we present here. Nonetheless, we needed to find the right screens that would accurately represent what we wanted to present," added Thomas Delamarre.

Panasonic projector products are also used in an installation by English art collective United Visual Artists, perhaps best known for their work with the band Massive Attack. The group created visualisations of seven of Bernie Krause’s soundscapes recorded in Canada, the US, Brazil, the Central African Republic, and Zimbabwe as well as under the sea. An accompanying film by Raymond Depardon and Claudine Nougaret is also played out, in which Krause describes his work.

UVA wanted to work with Panasonic equipment from the outset of the project as they were familiar with using it and had positive previous experiences. The group contacted Panasonic for assistance choosing the most suitable equipment for their requirements, as they needed extremely quiet operation as well as strong colour rendering.

"We needed continuous projection that was smooth and silent"

Panasonic recommended seven PT-DZ780 projectors, which are used to display a absorbing 40m image across three walls using edge blending functionality. 

Using a D3 Media Server the visualisation is created and displayed in real time as the soundscapes are played out, creating an incredibly immersive experience thanks to the powerful colour rendering and high brightness of the PT-DZ780 projector array.

Camille Chenet, Head of Exhibition Production, said, “We needed continuous projection that was smooth and silent, so as to not impact the soundscapes. In addition, we are limited by how much we can hang from the ceiling, so we wanted projectors that were not too heavy. We wished to try out the new laser projectors, but we decided to use non laser ones as we think it adapts better to a museum based installation."

'The Great Animal Orchestra' runs until January 2017. For more information, visit: http://fondation.cartier.com