Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Voltaire, and many more of France’s most legendary citizens will speak once more this Bastille Day (July 14) through an interactive art exhibit at the Pantheon, France’s national mausoleum. The exhibit, titled “Decrypt the Pantheon,” uses a system of speakers hung from stationary balloons to project the voices of famous French men and woman talking about the value, tenuousness, and hard-fought nature of liberty.
As visitors approach any one of 12 individual tombs, the voices of legendary philosophers, scientists, and artists will wash over them from the balloon-hung, state-of-the-art, directional HSS speaker systems. The speakers will project a narrow cone of sound, inaudible from everywhere but directly underneath the installation. The idea behind the single-audience monologue was to create an intimate and private conversation, speaking directly from the past to the nation’s future.
“We jumped at the chance to take part in this project because the subject matter is more important now than ever, and the setting is absolutely spectacular,” Theatre Projects’ principal acoustic consultant, Sébastien Jouan, said. “The opportunity to work in the Pantheon, which is such an icon of the French Republic, was an incredible honor.”
Theatre Projects provided concept deign and acoustic advice for the exhibit, which presented a unique acoustic challenge in order to dampen and isolate sound within the voluminous, reverberant marble-floored and marble-walled crypt. The installation, which was a collaboration with architect Oualalou + Choi and 3D sound specialists Euphonia, will run for only one day—July 14.
“After the recent terrorist attacks, the uncertainty, and the fear of extremism, it was good to be a part of something so positive—to have some hope again, and to give hope to others,” Seb said. “We started the Paris office of Theatre Projects only three years ago, and I’m extremely proud that in this short amount of time we’ve had the opportunity to work within the Pantheon.”