Monday, October 12, 2009

la Cathedral d'Images

The rocky hills around les Baux de Provence have long inspired visitors to the medieval city. It's rumored that Dante's description of hell was based on the apparent cascades of jagged rocky outcroppings. Others found an immaculate strain of mineral resources in the hills. Bauxite, a principle ingredient in aluminum, is so named because of its discovery near les Baux. Some entrepreneurs were content to exploit the pure white limestone itself.


The monolithic limestone quarries are themselves inspirational architectural spaces. Massive passageways and expansive "rooms" are reminiscent of monumental Egyptian burial sites. Further considering the bright white limestone walls, reminiscent of so many churches, the mining sites are best described as cathedrals.

Within one such abandoned quarry, an artistic installation of picture and sound is on display. This year they are featuring the works of Pablo Picasso. When reading about the exhibition, I had expected something like a typical art museum - a series of still photos and solemn observers. The cathedral d'images provides a much different experience. Instead of static displays, the images constantly scroll through the vast walls of the quarry. Children dance on images projected onto the floor to dramatic tunes. The musical selection is diverse, juxtaposing the bull fighting anthems from Carmen with the serious theme from the Godfather. And yet, each selection fits the mood of the images appearing all around.

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This work by Ken Maschke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.