MONTREUX JAZZ HERITAGE LAB GOES NOMADIC

Building on its latest research, the EPFL+ECAL Lab explores further possibilities to bring the unique musical and cultural heritage of the Montreux Jazz Festival back to life and enhance it. At the heart of the immersive experience, 50 years of concert recordings delight music lovers all over again, but not only. This experimental device also tests a concept to enrich the archive with visitor testimonials.

The EPFL+ECAL Lab seeks to turn emerging technologies into convincing user experiences for a wide audience through design. After unveiling the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab a few months ago, the goal is now to develop a lightweight, easy-to-move immersive facility, while taking advantage of interaction with the audience to enrich this legacy.

In the lab’s audiovisual experimentation space, light and sound spring from a sphere mounted on a new set of wheels with an engine still in working order. A new immersive installation is getting ready to be tested within the music industry.

Visitors start by selecting one of the tracks which have built the Montreux Jazz Festival’s history and discover another visitor’s testimonial. Comfortably settled in this strange vehicle, they can then fully enjoy a concert brought back to life through a sophisticated multimedia device. Each visitor is invited in turn to leave their mark in these archives listed in the UNESCO "Memory of the World" Register, in order to enrich them. These audiovisual testimonials are complemented by handwritten notes which evoke travel in more traditional ways. Suitcases gradually get covered with stamps and stickers reminiscent of traditional address labels, as digital technology merges with physical objects.

On this occasion, the EPFL+ECAL Lab takes this opportunity to renew its collaboration with another EPFL laboratory, ALICE Design Studio on the Conception of Space, in order to explore the notion of sound and image in space and give it a physical dimension. As the digitization of archives develops on a large scale throughout the world, the project provides an answer to fundamental questions: how to effectively bring digitized heritage back to life? How to create an immersive experience while preserving the quality and initial format of the archives? How can digital technology enhance cultural content without distorting it?

After a first testing phase with artists and musicians, this experimental project will give raise to a nomadic installation, open to public as of next year.