Les Villes Invisibles

These imaginary cities, from the past, the present and the future.

  • Béatrice Lartigue
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Music Video
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 16, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Arte Laguna Prize
    July 16, 2021
    World Premiere
  • Arte Laguna Prize
    May 21, 2022
  • Immersive X
    November 18, 2022
Director Biography - Béatrice Lartigue

Béatrice Lartigue is a French artist born in 1982 in Ayguemorte-les-Graves (Bordeaux, FRA).
After a degree in Space Design, Béatrice is majoring in Media and Interaction Design at Gobelins (Paris, FRA).
Béatrice is a member of the interdisciplinary collective Lab212, founded in 2008 in Paris by 9 friends.
Today, Béatrice lives and works in Toulouse.

Using new media, Béatrice Lartigue creates installations which explore our perceptions of space and sound.
These pieces, in which the visitor becomes an actor, provoke a loss of bearings and offer a sensitive interpretation of impalpable phenomena by giving them a materiality, as through light and sound beams in space (Passifolia, 2020), the force of the wind on the landscape (Nebula, 2018), or the unfold of a music score in volume (Portée/, 2014).

Béatrice teaches Media and Interaction Design at Gobelins (Paris, FRA) and regularly leads workshops in institutions such as: ECAL (Lausanne, CHE), Estienne (Paris, FRA), ENSAD (Reims, FRA), Université Paris VIII (Paris, FRA).

Her works were exhibited at the Barbican Centre (London, GBR), the Miraikan Museum (Tokyo, JPN), the Museum of Digital Art (Zurich, CHE), the DMuseum (Seoul, KOR), le Centre Pompidou (Paris, FRA).

Béatrice Lartigue has won several international awards, including from the Sundance Film Festival (New Frontier Selection: Notes on Blindness), the Lumen Prize (Performance Award: Portée/).

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Director Statement

These imaginary cities, from the past, the present and the future.

Les Villes Invisibles is an artistic installation around the theme of memory.
More specifically, this piece investigates the notions of emptiness and absence in the shared social space the city represents.
This piece is a personal testimony, echoing the work Le Città Invisibili by writer Italo Calvino, published in Turin in 1972.
Les Villes Invisibles portrays the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, built in the 12th century. With a surface area of 6,000 m2 and a height of 70m, the monument designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, testifies of a genuine technological achievement by the architects of the Middle Ages.
On 15 April 2019, a violent fire destroyed the spire and the entire roof protecting the nave, choir and transept of the gothic edifice.
As in the eponymous book, Les Villes Invisibles sets out a space where the visitor can "enter, walk around, perhaps get lost, but where, at one time or another, he must find a way out, or even several ways out".
"The over-city crisis is the other side of the nature crisis". Italo Calvino
Les Villes Invisibles draws on imaginary continents and brings back to the centre of the game, issues raised by techniques like photogrammetry (notably developing in cartography and archeology disciplines) that wonder over man's status in modern cities, as a place of history and desire.
Photogrammetry combines a set of techniques used to determine the shape, dimensions and spatial position of an object from a corpus of photographs. This process includes a phase of photographic recording of the perspectives and a phase of rendering, to produce a 3D model.
This technique queries our perception of reality, its recording at a given time (before or after a disaster) and its scientific accuracy (the large amount of data required...).
Finally, the narrative presented through Les Villes Invisibles confronts this capture of reality with its perception, especially through the time passing by and the bias of our senses (omniscient vision, feeling of ubiquity).
The paper drawings fix in time this perception of the site.