Grist for The Image Mill 

Organizers bring version of Robert Lepage’s masterpiece to Congress

Robert Lepage’s <em>Image Mill</em> projected onto the silos in Quebec City. Magnifying glass

Robert Lepage’s Image Mill projected onto the silos in Quebec City.

When he witnessed Robert Lepage’s The Image Mill™ (Le Moulin à images™) in Quebec City, Congress 2010 Academic Convenor Ronald Rudin knew it would bring a dynamic element to Congress.

For the 400th anniversary of Quebec City in 2008, Quebecois director, artist, playwright, actor and filmmaker Robert Lepage unveiled his spectacular display depicting Quebec history, projecting images and film onto the 600-by-30-metre surface of grain silos of the Quebec Harbour (an exhibition continuing each summer until 2013).

While Concordia might not have a surface of that size, Rudin and colleagues from a number of Concordia departments have found a way to bring the experience here. Starting at 7 p.m. on June 2 in the D.B. Clarke Theatre, there will be a presentation of artifacts, images, film, and discussion addressing the Lepage project and its cultural importance.

“As we’re welcoming delegates from everywhere to this province, we wanted an opportunity to showcase Quebecois culture,” says Rudin.

“It would be hard to argue that Lepage isn’t one of the major cultural icons here, but in addition, the nature of this particular event speaks to Congress’ theme of Connected Understanding because the way it crosses boundaries between art, history and technology,” Rudin says, who saw The Image Mill™ last summer.

The main event will be a panel featuring guests with varying perspectives on Lepage’s work:

  • Philippe Dubé, museologist and co-designer of the Quebec City exhibition;
  • York University Film Studies Professor and Canada Research Chair in Art, Digital Media and Globalization Janine Marchessault (BA 82), who studies large projections in public space;
  • Marchessault’s colleague York U Professor John Greyson, who will be illustrating how Lepage’s 20+ years in the film industry influenced The Image Mill™;
  • and UQÀM Sociology Professor Joseph Yvon Thériault, on the interpretation of the history presented in The Image Mill™.

Lepage, who received an honorary doctorate from Concordia in 1999, cannot be present.

A display outside the theatre will include a series of artifacts that show the creation of The Image Mill™. As well, interspersed between speakers, short movies and multimedia presentations will be shown on the theatre screen.

In addition, to help illustrate the theatrical element, theatre professor Raymond Marius Boucher will be working with an 8-by-1-metre architectural model of the siloscape originally created for the Quebec City exhibition. Boucher, responsible for staging this Congress event, plans on incorporating the speaking podium into the model.

“There aren’t a lot of cultural productions that encourage people from such diverse backgrounds and perspectives to connect with a particular work of art,” says Rudin. “This should be interesting.”

The event is open to the public and will have simultaneous translation.


Concordia University