Amsterdam – Our devices have greatly shifted the meaning of ‘sharing is caring’: we share more than ever – Ubers, photos of two-minute-old babies on social media, our data analytics – yet the mood remains paradoxically antisocial. One of the strongest biological tendencies our species has – to gather – is waning as our digital dependency flourishes. Yet our universal need for collectivism hasn’t gone anywhere – just ask Frame Lab speaker Sakchin Bessette, co-founder of the Montreal-based multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory.
Chances are, you’ve seen Bessette’s work already: for the past 18 years, the internationally represented company has activated some pretty hallowed ground – a Sagrada Familia light show and Madonna’s half-time stage for the 2012 Super Bowl are just a few stand-out examples. Their mission is to create strong entertainment with enough value for people to want to come together in a public environment – to share experiences communally. Moment Factory’s portfolio is an explosion of light, colour and sound in some of the most incredible venues the world has to offer.
Sharing tangible moments is a cornerstone topic for Frame Lab’s Club Me content track [buy your tickets here] as we explore the ever-personalised digital age – together.
Moment Factory’s homepage made me smirk the first time I saw it: ‘We do it in public’, emboldened in highlighter yellow, gets straight to the point – it entertains, then generates a response. How does this build into what the company seeks to do on a grand scale for its audiences?
SAKCHIN BESSETTE: This is a tag line that has been with us for a while; it’s quite fundamental for what we do. Obviously it has a bit of humour in it – part of our company’s culture – but we take it seriously. Look at how people were gathering and telling stories 10,000 years ago, for example. We think that the stories have changed, that people have changed, but really, the basic human need has stayed the same: to gather and share experiences. Yet now, a majority of technological developments are individualised; customised for your own time, for your own private needs, your own personal devices and screens. There’s no need to leave the confines of personal space anymore, whether it’s to get entertained, work or even to have a love life. Things have changed a lot, and they keep changing: you can imagine in few generations you might not even need to leave your house anymore. That’s worrisome for us.
What’s the main thing to consider when beginning work on Moment Factory productions?
We start with a specific objective. We ask ourselves: ‘What’s going to be the most touching for people?’ We use the different senses and emotions as tools to create a variety of surprises and spectacles. It’s always in a different public space, whether it be an arena, or forest, airport or bridge, theme park or museum, physically engaging and visually immersing people in these environments is the goal. Immersion makes people feel as if they’ve entered a different world – quite exciting for the audience of today.