Want to see Renaissance paintings come to life? With Grand Mix at Illuminate Adelaide you can!

Grand Mix Inook Illuminate Adelaide
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Grand Mix is a show created by Inook, a French company led by David Passegrand and Moetu Battle. Grand Mix takes characters from paintings, unique to each city, and brings them to life by literally giving them a voice. This work has toured the world and will be making its Australian debut at Illuminate Adelaide next month. What’s more, it’s free! We spoke to Inook’s David Passegrand to find out how they created their Renaissance choir and what to expect at Illuminate Adelaide.

Grand Mix Inook Illuminate Adelaide
Grand Mix Inook Illuminate Adelaide

Your Grand Mix is coming to Illuminate Adelaide this Winter. Tell us about Grand Mix. Where did the idea for the first Grand Mix come from ?

Several combinations made this project obvious!

  1. We always put the audience first. We want to surprise them, make them smile, get them involved…
  2. Like everyone else, we’ve played and laughed a lot with these applications on our smartphones, which make our photos sing.
  3. We wanted to come back to the Lyon Festival of Lights with a new project, after our various stints with the Anooki. The Place des Terreaux is a very symbolic place for this festival. We had never presented anything on this square. And the main building on the square is the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

So we came up with the idea of having the paintings in the museum sing songs that we all know and love!


You have created a choir of people from the paintings in the Reimagining the Renaissance exhibition which is coming tot the Art Gallery of South Australia. How did you decide which voices to give them?

We organised a big audition!

There are several stages in creating a Grand Mix:

  • creation of the soundtrack
  • casting
  • storyboarding / animatics
  • playbacks
  • animation of each character
  • integration
  • special effects (lighting) on the façade


I imagine that Grand Mix is a projection which plays in a loop. How long does this one go for?

The show is effectively on a loop. It lasts just over 3 minutes.


How do you ensure that the historical elements of the Renaissance are respected while creating a modern immersive experience?

We allow ourselves to be completely free of art history. It’s a principle. And that’s what’s so funny and offbeat about it. Casting is defined according to the character’s expression, physique, clothes, age and sex, the colour of the painting…


What role does artificial intelligence play in your work?

It’s an extraordinary tool for us artists. It opens up new possibilities for our ideas. It also allows us to carry out certain tasks much more quickly. Saving time allows us to concentrate on more creative tasks.


We are well aware that the Grand Mix could not have existed even 4 years ago. But make no mistake, it’s not up to artificial intelligence to come up with ideas.



Can you tell us about the creation of INOOK and its development over the last 24 years?

We created Inook in 2000. For 20 years, we’ve been creating websites, interactive installations (particularly for museums), software designs and all kinds of digital objects.


At the same time we created a universe around 2 characters inspired by the Inuits: the Anooki. This universe inspired us to put on a mapping show in Lyon in 2012. It was a revelation for us! Seeing the audience smile, laugh and come alive in front of our creations delighted us! Today, we divide our time between shows, exhibitions and developing the Anooki in more real forms – statues, objects, books, films…

Photo des Anooki à Lyon 2014, Trophée des Lumières - Photo du site web d'Inook
Photo of the Anooki in Lyon 2014, Trophée des Lumières – Photo from the Inook website

How does your training in industrial design influence your work at INOOK?

Our training was multidisciplinary: product design, graphic design, architecture… Perhaps that’s why we don’t hesitate to switch from one medium to another, without any complexes or scruples!



Can you describe the collaborative process between you and Moetu Batlle in the creation of projects such as Grand Mix?

I manage the projects in English (Moetu sucks!).


The two of us always make decisions together, and we always carry out the writing, design and creation phases together. Moetu is more into aesthetics and I’m more into rhythm and technique. We complement each other on certain points, but sometimes there’s only one brain between us!


How do you approach the sound design of a project that combines historical art and contemporary music?

We want to appeal to as many people as possible. We identify well-known, universal music. We also personalise the choices according to the country. We take advice on the music from people younger than us (to avoid making a playlist for fifty-year-olds) and from an actor and concert director. A Grand Mix is built like a mini-concert, with high points, quieter moments and a build-up at the end.


Our aim is to make people happy for a while. We want the audience to enjoy themselves.

Grand Mix Lyon Inook
Photo from Inook’s website of the Grand Mix in Lyon



Is the Illuminate Adelaide festival the first time Inook has staged an installation in Australia?

Yes, it’s the very first time.


Why come and see Grand Mix at the Illuminate Adelaide festival?

To sing and dance to Sia and the Bee Gees, in the company of Renaissance paintings!

We’d like to thank Inook for this interview and look forward to seeing the installation next month!



WHAT: Inook’s Grand Mix at Illuminate Adelaide festival, part of the free City Lights program

WHERE: On the facade of the Art Gallery of South Australia

WHEN: nightly from 5:30pm to 10:30pm from 5 to 21 July

HOW: No reservation needed. Just go!

HOW MUCH: It’s free!


To find out about the other Illuminate Adelaide festival installations from France and Quebec, we’ve got it all here

If you’re looking for other events with links to France and the Francophonie, check out our What to do in June.

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