Even as a young playwright, Québec City’s Robert Lepage, the prolific artistic director responsible for such productions as Cirque du Soleil’s Kà in Las Vegas and the upcoming staging of Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, wanted to make his mark on the Bunge. The massive grain-storage terminal blocks city views to the Saint Lawrence River, and Lepage has been staring at the 1,968-foot-long building since 1997, when he moved his production company, Ex Machina, into a converted firehouse facing its 81 silos. In 2008 he began to realize his vision.
Working with longtime collaborator Martin Gagnon, principal of Ambiances Lighting & Visual Design, Lepage created The Image Mill, a series of video images condensing Québec City’s 400-year history into 40 minutes, which he displayed around two outer walls of the structure using 27 freestanding Christie projectors. During its first season, the projection — presented by the City of Québec, with the Bunge of Canada and the Port of Québec, to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary — attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers.