An Empty Paris Railway Transforms into a Massive Light Canvas

Pablo Valbuena's "Kinematope" uses projected light and sound to transform the Gare d’Austerlitz into an immersive cinematic experience.

The Gare d’Austerlitz railway station in Paris is currently being refurbished, and it's against this empty industrial canvas that artist Pablo Valbuena has created the site-specific installation, Kinematope, for Nuit Blanche. The installation is situated on one of the future platforms, which measures half a kilometer in length.

"Kinematope is specific twice over." explains Valbuena. "First, for being formulated as a response to the perceptual qualities and inner structure of the place it activates. Second, because its kinematic nature is directly connected to the function of the train station itself: transit, transport, motion."

The architectural artwork integrates the sculptural-looking pillars and ceiling of the platform into the piece using "ephemeral and intangible materials"—light projections and sound. Using these two elements, Valbuena is able to transform the vast environment and the tunnel-like forms of the pillars into something cinematic. It channels a kind of spaceship launch bay/rave-strobe aesthetic in the way its lights radiate back and forth and quicken before everything becomes shrouded in darkness.

"It makes use of elements from the cinema apparatus to generate a spatial film." says Valbuena. "It is a direct filmic experience that omits the mediation of the camera, transporting the observer into a virtual space-time and maintaining at the same time the real, physical bonds of the body with its environment."

GIFs by Kevin Holmes


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