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Paris Dives Into Digital Arts With Gaîté Lyrique Museum

The cutting edge Gaîté Lyrique is dedicated to creativity in the digital age, exploring its every angle from e-books to video games, live performance to robots.

Paris Dives Into Digital Arts With Gaîté Lyrique Museum
Sandra de Vivies

PARIS - For years, the Gaîté Lyrique (lyrical gaiety) theatre was notorious as a squat with a barricaded facade and for its ever interminable redevelopment projects. The impressive Italianate building, which first opened its doors to the public in 1862, was largely destroyed in 1987 to make way for a short-lived amusement park, and wound up abandoned for years.

But now an ambitious project to create a space for the exploration of creativity in a digital age has given the Parisian theatre a new look – and purpose.

The museum's director Jérôme Delormas explains the mission. "Digital culture is a major phenomenon that is having a huge impact on creativity and the day to day life of our society," says Delormas. "The Gaîté Lyrique is going to observe this digital revolution, focusing on the human dimension rather than the gadgetry as has often been the case in the past."

Beyond its original facade and entrance hall, the Gaîté has been completely reconstructed by architect Manuelle Gautrand. She has played with contrast and spread geometric forms resembling a pixel or a human cell throughout the building. They are equipped with RFID antennas to interact with the public.

In addition to these luminous clusters, which can be rearranged according to the needs of the museum, the architect has also conceived clever mobile boxes which can be used as cloakrooms, dressing rooms, offices or sitting areas. The mezzanine is also wonderful, looking down on the 700-square-meter exhibition hall and wall screen as well as the padded sound chamber and stream of Light Emitting Deodes (LEDs).

There will be performances, dance and lectures, exploring web cultures, graphic design and science fiction cinema. Light years away from the Louvre, the new museum will also have exhibits dedicated to robots, e-books and video games "Our natural audience is 15 to 35 year olds, but we don't want to be intimidating for others," says Delormas. "The idea is that, for once, it will be young people dragging their parents to a museum!"

Gaîté Lyrique, 3 bis, rue Papin, 75003 Paris.
Tél. : 01 53 01 52 00.
www.gaite-lyrique.net

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