a concert by Jean-Michel Jarre in a virtual Notre-Dame de Paris

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On the evening of December 31, 2020, the electro musician Jean-Michel Jarre will give a virtual concert in a reconstructed Notre-Dame cathedral. While he will play in a Parisian studio, it is his avatar that spectators will see, that is to say his digital incarnation. This 45-minute performance will consist of songs from his recent album Électronica, as well as new remixed versions of his classics, Oxygène and Equinoxe. Projections and lasers will accompany this show called “Welcome to the other side” which will begin at 11:25 pm Paris time (10:25 pm UT).

RFI : How did the idea for this ultra-technical show come into being on December 31? ?

Jean Michel Jarre : The idea for this concert came from talking with Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, We said to ourselves that we should not give up for the end of the year and that we had to try to create something . The idea was to do this concert virtually to respect the confinement and the curfew. It was therefore necessary to innovate, to highlight both French and European know-how, then to invite the whole world to the heart of Paris by performing a virtual concert in a virtual Notre-Dame. The idea was at the same time to pay homage to a cathedral that has been weakened like us. It is a world heritage gem that connects us to each other. Sending this festive message of hope is important at this time when so many cultural events are being canceled. It also makes it possible to employ 150 people who have been on this project for three months: technicians, artists. It is a collective work which allows to present something innovative, different. As in judo, transforming weaknesses into strength, so to speak.

How will it be ? You will not be physically at Notre-Dame ?

I will be physically live from a studio in Paris, and via my avatar, in the virtual cathedral. I have sensors on me a bit like in the movie The Matrix, and I will be seen in this virtual cathedral. So people who have virtual glasses, several tens of millions around the world already have them, will also have the possibility of sharing the concert live in this way.

The idea is to allow all those who are very far, who are very isolated to be able to be present and to be able to participate in this concert. ?

Yes, there is a social role in virtual reality that interests me a lot. It is precisely to be able to ensure that people who are geographically and socially isolated can share a cultural event, whether it is a concert, whether it is an opera, whether it is a museum visit. And I think it’s a mode of expression in itself that not only should not be afraid of, but should be encouraged. The current period plays like a kind of accelerator: it is a question of getting used to receiving creations which are creations that come from the digital world and which, in no case are there to replace the physical spectacle, with the pleasure to be shoulder to shoulder to share a moment in concert, opera, theater … It is a moment that comes in addition, as an alternative, and which will give birth to new professions for technicians, for artists who will create new ways. This period may have been able to act as an accelerator in this area.

You always push the limits of the technique, the spectacular too. What drives you like this always to explore further ?

I think it’s just curiosity. I also think that I have remained a bad kid, that is to say that I am always looking for things that already amaze me, above all. It’s not about breaking records or doing anything like that. Instinctively, I think it’s deep down, in the DNA of an artist to explore, to try to discover different things, to renew oneself, even if at the end of the day as Fellini told me, whom I met at the end of his life, we always make the same film, we always make the same music, we always make the same book, we express our own DNA, our own universe, but with different tools. And it is this, in any case, which makes me move forward and which also moves a number of my colleagues forward.

To listen to and see this multimedia show wherever you are in the world, several possible solutions: connect from 11:25 pm on the site, the Facebook account, or the Youtube channel of the city of Paris, or on the channel Youtube of Jean-Michel Jarre. You can also opt for Virtual Reality, on the platform VRchat.

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