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The House of Culture and Digital Innovation will occupy Maison Gaudard in the courtyard of the cathedral in Lausanne. This new structure, which intends to dedicate itself to the digital transition while remaining open to the public, revealed its contours on Friday.

There, a laboratory dedicated to culture and digital participation will open its doors. Its role will be “to be both an incubator of digital mediation, a platform of networked resources in the digital sector, a digital education tool and an observatory of digital cultures”, indicates the city of Lausanne in its application for work credit.

The House will also have a “resource center for the cultural scene” with the Cultural Office of Vaud being moved to its walls, which in particular rents out technical equipment at affordable prices. It will also provide permanent offices for six Lausanne festivals, namely: Festival de la Cité, Label Suisse, Lausanne Garden Parties, Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival (LUFF), Fête du Slip and Fête de la Musique.

The public will be able to continue visiting Maison Gaudard, as the new structure will have a “multipurpose broadcast room” that offers, among other things, exhibitions, installations and conferences. They will also be welcomed at the “cultural café” which, in addition to drinks, will offer the possibility to consult specialized works.

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“This is a deliberately hybrid project,” Lausanne administrator Grégoire Junod told media and project stakeholders on Friday. One way, in particular, to strengthen Lausanne’s position on the cultural plane.

However, it is worth taking an interest because, according to the figures cited by the socialist, the cultural economy and the creative economy generate 5 to 7% of jobs in Switzerland. “Digital culture is, in a way, the missing link in the cultural economy,” he said.

“The digitization of culture has increased with the pandemic,” noted Michael Kinzer, head of the city’s Department of Culture. “While digital art has been around for a long time, its potential for culture and science is enormous.”

In addition, the canton excels in terms of cultural digitization at the University of Lausanne and EPFL level, as well as in the creative industry, such as Creal, an active augmented reality start-up, continued Michael Kinzer. “The House of Culture and Digital Innovation aims to be a platform where these actors can meet,” he said.

ambitious and vague

More specifically, as indicated in the book’s credit application, the laboratory dedicated to culture and digital participation could offer “a digital exhibition space” aimed at young audiences and highlighting the city’s heritage collections. It could also offer tutorials for the creation of digital projects, support for the use of digital tools or participatory research residencies.

The creation of the digital laboratory is the object of a collaboration with the Fabulerie de Marseille, a “digital factory and cultural third place that aims to open knowledge to as many people as possible”. The University of Lausanne will be a regular partner of the new Lausanne structure.

“This is a new place whose future we don’t know. We are willing to be flexible so this project can evolve,” said Michael Kinzer. The terminology remains to be defined and the name “House of Culture and Digital Innovation” could change, he specified.

The new occupants of Maison Gaudard are expected in the spring of 2023. Until then, the Museum of Design and Applied Contemporary Arts (mudac), which is currently located there, is expected to complete its move to the Platform 10 Arts district, while works from interior renovation worth 890,000 francs. The credit must also be validated by the City Council, which has just received the dossier.

Isabelle Bertolini with Keystone-ATS

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