Stock up on breadcrumbs and magic beans: inspired by folklore and fairy tales, Foresta Lumina is an illuminated, spellbinding night trail created by new media and entertainment studio Moment Factory. Transforming Parc de la Gorge in Coaticook Canyon, Canada, into a multi-sensory installation, the dark forest becomes the canvas for an immersive public exhibition. Step into this mesmerizing environment in our new documentary, above, and join us on our private tour of the magical woodland— we just hope you’re well enough versed in The Brothers Grimm to find your way out.
Open through October 11th, the semi-permanent installation is a supernatural symbiosis of varying arts media, set along the route of one stunning pathway. As visitors enter Foresta Lumina, they’re brought on a mile-plus-long journey wherein light art, video mapping, architectural installation, and more fuse within one seamless environment. Split into seven sections, each folk tale and character arc is represented by a unique multimedia effect.
“We wanted to use a natural stage,” explained Moment Factory’s Creative Director, Gabriel Pontbriand, “and here, that’s the forest right in front of you.” He added that, since the project is “organic and driven by nature,” the technology that keeps it running needed to reflect that. Moment Factory, therefore, had to hide the mechanics of Foresta Lumina’s and embed their tech into the environment. The magic feels like it emanates from deep within the unknown.
Inspired by the Moment Factory team’s annual camping trip, where, equipped with candles, makeup and costumes, they reached Parc de la Gorge’s famous bridge. Feeling like the arch was a portal, they could imagine a narrative curve based in the park’s terrain. The forest itself sparked stories in their heads, and thus, by integrating their innovative video environments into the natural setting, they imbued reality with a mystical twist.
“All the generative and interactive new technology and software allows us to create pieces that are living, that are transforming,” said Multimedia Director, Marie Belzil. She added, “The technology really helped push the boundaries of storytelling in terms of how we can involve the public even more, how the public can participate.”
In the sense that visitors will lose their sense of the outside world, and come together under the illuminated wonderland, Foresta Lumina strives to be an all-enveloping experience. To enhance this sensation, visitors to the park are asked pick up a rock at the beginning of their journey; when they reach the end of the path, the rocks glow, “as if they were made out of light.” Augmented alongside the rocks of the other participants, the glow inspires the feeling of communal experience: “If people formulate a wish and imagine that they are part of something bigger than just themselves, then the magic can actually transform the soul of that place,” said Belzil. The glowing rocks mark a metaphorical end to the journey— “lights” at the end of the tunnel.
No matter if you were on the side of Tolkien or Perrault growing up, after being consumed by Foresta Lumina, there’s no denying that, through the power of imagination (and a little high-technology), magic has never felt more real.