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A Virtual Reality Sky Opens Up the Ceiling of a Gothic Church in Paris

Mesmerizing Immersive Experience In Sant Eustance Church

The soaring French Gothic architecture of Paris' Sant-Eustace church is impressive in its own right, but it has been taken to new heights thanks to Miguel Chevalier‘s newest installation. As part of the annual Nuit Blanche, an all night arts and culture festival, the celebrated artist, whose work focuses exclusively on computers as an artistic means of expression, used the church's ceiling vaults as his canvas for an array of mapping projections. The work is titled Vou^tes Ce´lestes, or Celestial Vaults, and throughout the course of one evening, more than 10,000 visitors watched as the naves and transepts of the church morphed into changing skies.

This generative and interactive virtual reality artwork functions in real time, as the imaginary sky charts change shape following visitors' movements—its dynamic choreography dancing along the vaults. Visitors were encouraged to look up toward the heavens in order to enjoy the experience, a symbolic gesture in this religious space. As they did so, they discovered a multitude of colored networks of light that spread out in the form of sinuous webs. The 35 colorful universes took form and then lost their shape, dissolving into each other.

The entire experience was enhanced with music—musical improvisations played by Baptiste-Florian Marle-Ouvrard and repertoires performed by Les Chanteurs de Saint-Eustache. Chevalier, who is no stranger to installations in Gothic interiors, highlights the impressive architecture, while at the same time creating a mesmerizing, immersive experience. The final effect is a virtual stained glass that merges nature, technology, and architecture.

Art Projected At Church Ceiling VaultsChurch Ceiling Vaults Used As Canvas

French Gothic Architecture Inspires Art Installation

Celestial Vaults In French Gothic Church

Interactive Virtual Reality In Art Form At Sant Eustance Church

Virtual Stained Glass Within French Gothic Church

Miguel Chevalier: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Miguel Chevalier.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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