Originally designed as a sensory experience for the 2015 edition of the C2 Montreal
conference (C2-MTL; a business meeting based on the concept of Commerce + Creativity -
hence the C2 in the name - brings together thought-leaders from around the world to
exchange ideas, share inspiration and re-kindle their creativity to fuel business
success - the 2015 event took place from May 26 to 28th), visitors to the NEST were
invited to venture inside, two strangers at a time, and participate in a mysterious
ritual of choice and chance. Those brave enough to enter the NEST found themselves
engaged in a curious and tactile exploration of intuition—that essential, yet elusive,
element of any creative process. The concept was designed by Melissa Thompson & Viviana
De Loera, set designed by Anne-Séguin Poirier.
"The role of intuition in the choices that we make was something that we really
wanted to explore," says Welby Altidor, Executive Creative Director of Creations
at Cirque du Soleil about the NEST. "How could we use some of the exploration
that we have in the nest for some of our own creative process; with our employees
here in Montreal. How could some of the insight that we will get from, you know,
the exploration in the nest could also be applied with our audiences?" Altidor was
Director of Creation for Michael Jackson ONE, that is currently in residence at
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, and he is one of the creators of C:LAB.
The lab's first project is SPARKED, a short film that features 10 quadcopters and
unites humans and flying machines in choreography. Previously, Altidor was Cirque
du Soleil’s Director of Creation in the Images, Events, and Lifestyle division, where
he led a number of large-scale creative projects. He was previously Director of
Strategic Relations, Arts, Circus, and Sports. In this role, he developed strategic
partnerships in more than a dozen countries, including an important alliance with
the International Gymnastics Federation. His first position at Cirque was in the
casting department as a talent scout, traveling the world and recruiting hundreds
of artists for Cirque shows.
"If anything was possible, if any budget was possible, if any anti-gravity situation
was possible, what would we do?" asked Melissa Thompson, one of the concept's creators.
"We really wanted to create a situation in which this mysterious structure is there,
and for the observers outside they see two people at a time enter this nest, but they
seem to never see them come out." C:LAB used real tree branches to create the NEST, a
hollow structure measuring 30 feet across and sitting 10 feet in the air. Participants
were invited to climb a ladder into the nest where a moderator led them in a discussion.
To leave the nest, attendees slid down a slide. "For people who volunteer to enter into
the nest are brought into this kind of ritual performance that will reveal something
about themselves, each to the other person."