Luminothérapie: A whale appears in Place des Festivals as of this Thursday

Écho – le chant de l’inconnu au Museums Quartier Wien (Vienne, Autriche) © Lorenz Seidler

The gigantic interactive work
Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters by Mathias Gmachl
headlines the 12th edition of Luminothérapie

The 12th edition of Luminothérapie will present, for the first time in Canada, the monumental interactive artwork Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters by Austrian multidisciplinary artist Mathias Gmachl from December 2 to February 6, 2022. The work is a majestic, 5-tonne, 17-metre steel whale, co-produced in collaboration with MuseumsQuartier Wien in Vienna, Austria, and LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura in Lugano, Switzerland. Symbolizing the importance of taking action to protect ecosystems, it will occupy Place des Festivals starting this Thursday.

“With Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters, I want to provide an open space – a platform – for the public to have conversations about the future of our planet. Not just about whales, but of all life that exists. The need to create room to learn, and dream, of a better future feels more pressing than ever. The installation is my small contribution towards a larger shift in the narratives and actions needed,” asserts Mathias Gmachl, the artist behind the design and production of the artwork.

The result of an international call for proposals for the creation of a public artwork for presentation in Vienna, Lugano and Montreal, Echoes – a voice from uncharted waters was designed and built over a 12-month period in collaboration with marine biologists, for the greatest possible realism. The interactive installation invites us to consider the impact of everyday human activities on nature and the environment through the use of sensors that detect visitors and use data to control the soundscape and animated illumination. By interacting respectfully with the marine mammal’s vital space, the public is immersed in an enigmatic melodic world. When people get too close, an audible reaction is triggered that gradually reduces the whale’s sounds and lights until they vanish, inviting reflection on the ill effects of human incursions into the Earth’s natural ecosystems. How far away do we have to stay to protect the whale?



Presented as part of Luminothérapie, 12th edition

December 2, 2021 to February 6, 2022
Monday to Thursday: Noon to 10 p.m.
Friday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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The amenities and installations that comprise Luminothérapie were designed with public health in mind, including physical distancing. These experiences allow visitors to live and relax safely in the Quartier des Spectacles. The Partnership urges all Montrealers to follow recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19.


  • Public transportation: numerous STM bus routes and more than 10 metro stations on the green and orange lines serve the area. 
  • Cycling: four-season bike paths and lanes run through the downtown area.
  • Driving: free street parking on weeknights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from December 3 to January 2.
  • The area includes accommodations for people with reduced mobility. Please see individual venue websites for details. 

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