Culturespaces operates digital art centers in Paris (Atelier des Lumières), Les Baux-de-Provence (Carrières de Lumières) as well as Dubai, Amsterdam and Jeju. The Bassins de Lumières, is the largest Centre d’art numérique in France housed in the former German WW2 submarine-base of Bordeaux.
A huge concrete bunker (600 000 m³ of concrete including a 9m thick roof) was constructed to maintain and shelter 15 large U-boats at a time. Bordeaux was chosen as it provided direct access to the Atlantic ocean at a safe distance from the UK. Operating for only a year, the building was abandoned by the Germans as they fled in 1944. After the war it harbored some metal working industries and the solid construction started to attract creatives.
The bunker has been attracting artists, filmmakers, visual artists and musicians since the 1960s, fascinated by ‘l’esprit du lieu’ (the spirit of the place). In 1999 it served as an exposition space for multidisciplinary arts. By 2018 the city of Bordeaux entrusted Culturespaces with the management and renovation of the 4 bays of 12m high, 16m deep, 110m long and 22m wide, to make the facilities safer and user friendly, preserving the monumental scale of the architecture.
Operational since 2020, we visited the 2021 (long) digital exhibition Monet, Renoir...Chagall; Journey around the Mediterranean (by Gianfranco Iannuzzi - Renato Gatto - Massimiliano Siccardiand). And the (short) Yves Klein; Infinite blue (by Cutback) around the basins. Projected images and beaming sound reflected from the concrete onto the water surfaces making it an immersive experience.
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