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Turning a digitized archive into an immersive and social experience


The wonderful Legacy of the Montreux Jazz Festival hits the road with “Nina”.

This compact gateway to a vast universe is about to set off — “Nina”,  the latest installation by the EPFL+ECAL Lab developed in cooperation with the space conception laboratory ALICE, brings the iconic concerts of the Montreux Jazz Festival back to life. Beyond mere transcribed memories or digitized recordings, “Nina” offers a truly immersive and social experience which will be brought to the general public during the 52nd edition of the Festival.

In recent decades millions of hours of audiovisual content have been digitized like the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival listed in the UNESCO “Memory of the World” Register. How can one truly bring this digitized heritage back to life?

Fifty years of concert recordings digitized under the leadership of the EPFL Metamedia Center have provided an ideal framework for experimentation. The research conducted by the EPFL+ECAL Lab in close cooperation with the space conception laboratory ALICE seeks to take our digital heritage to a new level. The findings will be presented at the Siggraph 2018 world conference in Vancouver in August and published in the scientific journal Leonardo/MIT Press.

During six years of research, designers, architects and engineers joined forces to create an unprecedented experience, opening up a new relationship with the recordings, the music, the artists and their stage performances. The design explores the feeling of immersion, the perception of sound and the physical dimension of the experience in order to also foster social interaction in real life.

“Nina” crowns the experimental installations developed to date. It complements in particular the immersive area open to the public in the EPFL Montreux Jazz Café. It follows the initial requirements, including reviving original recordings despite the radical evolution in their formats, resolutions and recording technologies, with the aim of heightening the material’s perception by enriching it with additional data and testimonials.

Nomadic and compact, the audiovisual set-up “Nina” takes the audience to the heart of the world’s largest archive of live recordings of blues, jazz and rock music.

It comes with a virtual reality installation bearing witness to the history of the Festival which echoes the adventure of the music itself — from Deep Purple who wrote ”Smoke on the Water” as the concert hall burned down on Lake Geneva, along with contributions by artists like Max Bill, Keith Haring or Jean Tinguely, here are the places which have woven unique connections between world-famous musicians.

“Nina” is opening new horizons for this musical and cultural legacy, taking it to new audiences to demonstrate how digitized archives may come back to life, offering a new perception of a heritage and bringing innovative experiences to a wide range of people throughout the world.

“Nina” will be unveiled to the public during the Montreux Jazz Festival, from 29 June to 14 July 2018.


Nicolas Henchoz, Project Curator
Cédric Duchêne, Project Manager, Senior Engineer
Tommaso Colombo, Senior Interaction Designer
Allison Crank, Interaction Designer
Delphine Ribes, Senior Computer Scientist
Yves Kalberer, Software Engineer
Béatrice Durandard, Product Designer, Scenographer

Pr Dieter Dietz, Architecture Curator
Ruben Valdez Juarez, Senior Research Architect
Rudi Nieveen, Senior Research Architect
Manon Fantini, Architect
Tobias Cebulla, Architect
Quentin Andreotti, Architect

Metamedia Center
Alain Dufaux, Operations and Development Manager
Igor Ristic, IT Manager, Project Coordinator, Digitization
Olivier Bruchez, Senior Developer, Database
Gregory Marti, Senior Developer, Media File Manager
Sarah Artacho, Documentalist, song indexing
Caryl Jones, Technology Watcher, Quality Control
Julien A. Raemy, Archivist, Picture Digitization & Anecdote Creation
Céline Racine, Archivist, Picture Digitization & Tagging


Montreux Jazz Festival
Fondation Claude Nobs
Audemars Piguet


La Porch Sàrl
Illusonic GmbH
Anthony Gallo Acoustics Ltd.

Photos Credits
Daniela & Tonatiuh / EPFL+ECAL Lab

Video Credits
Geoffroy Dubreuil / EPFL+ECAL Lab


Gomez et Compagnie Sàrl
Antoine Estoppey, Blend Studio
Eduardo Baches Sàrl