Inside the 16th century Saint-Eustache church in Paris, miguel chevalier has realized a generative virtual-reality installation that interacts with the dramatic gothic architecture of the site. ‘voûtes célestes’ (heavenly vaults) has been projected onto the church’s chancel vaults, central nave, and cross-shaped transepts, making the volumes of the columns and ribbed vaults engage in a dynamic choreography before visitors’ eyes. this artwork is accompanied by musical improvisations played by baptiste-florian marle-ouvrard — titular organist for saint eustache church’s great organ — and repertoires performed by les chanteurs de saint-eustache.
Presented as part of nuit blanche 2016, the installation generates imaginary sky charts in real time, creating 35 different colored networks of light that spread out in the form of sinuous webs. chevalier has designed these monumental meshes to both take form and lose shape as they follow the movements of visitors in the central nave. the ever-changing universes emphasize the impression of the church’s monumentality, loftiness and lightness, immersing guests in an all-encompassing atmosphere bathed in light.
Viewers are invited to stroll around, lie down, and lift their eyes toward the digital constellations of pixels above. amplified by saint eustache’s organ music, ‘voûtes célestes’ induces a spiritual and contemplative feeling, where light, color and motion create a virtual atmosphere within the sacred space.