Iannuzzi’s involvement with the Quarries of Lights began by chance in the late 1980s when he was driving from Venice to Arles to attend a workshop at the city’s famous Rencontres photography festival.
He took a detour to Les Baux de Provence, where he noticed the entrance to a quarry on the road to the hilltop village and on an impulse went in. Inside the cavernous interior he discovered what was then the Cathedral of Images, an installation originally set up in 1975 by Albert Plécy, a French journalist and photographer.
At that time, the show relied on a slide carousel, which gave astounding results. But Mr. Iannuzzi had another vision for the location. He proposed a more ambitious concept – “something in between theatre and projection”.
The facilities were closed in 2011 but reopened in 2012 when Culturespaces took over the organization of the project. The name was changed to “Carrières de Lumières when they re-opened the quarry. This year’s spectacle lasts about 40 minutes. High-performance and cutting edge technologies were added for the audiovisual show. The sound system was updated and 70 projectors with fibre optic cables cover every square inch in the main chamber, including the floor and the ceiling with a dense carpet of images. 3,000 images flash past in the course of a performance, sometimes as many as 50 at once. The space includes 4,000 square meters / 43,000 square foot space with a kaleidoscope of color which puts the viewer right in the center of the art.
The theme and subject of the shows change each year. In the past years they have featured Bosch and Brueghel, the Sistine Chapel, the French fantasy illustrator Philippe Druillet and the cities of Alexandria and Venice.
Today, there are over 1000 visitors a day during the tourist season. It is possible that 300-400 people attend the show at peak periods.
It takes Mr. Iannuzzi and his team the best part of a year to prepare for each year’s program. Visit the wonderful attraction and you will easily understand why the Quarries of Lights has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Provence.
The 2013 Program: Monet, Renoir… Chagall. Journeys around Mediterranean.