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February 2023


Sharing culture from port to port

This autumn the museum-boat Artexplorer will set sail from Marseille on a long Mediterranean voyage with multiple ports of call, providing innovative artistic and cultural experiences to visitors.

© Wilmotte et Associés Architectes Le bateau-musée Artexplorer partira du vieux port de Marseille.
© Wilmotte et Associés Architectes Un événementiel riche animera l’agora et les pavillons à quai.

Designed by naval architect Axel de Beaufort and Guillaume Verdier, this incredible 46.5-m catamaran will be able to welcome up to 2,000 visitors per day! On its first voyage, the museum-boat will sail across the Mediterranean, which for millennia has fostered trade and intercultural exchanges. From autumn 2023 to autumn 2025, Artexplorer is scheduled to visit at least 15 partner countries which are participating in this wonderful project. The journey will be punctuated by more than 20 stopovers, during which the boat will organise free, open-access exhibitions, festivals, workshops and immersive sound experiences on board, quayside and in the towns and cities.

Bridging the cultural divide

The Art Explora foundation, which spearheaded the project, has focused on mobility in order to share culture with as many people as possible. At each port of call the challenge is to attract a wide audience, in particular youth, seniors, disabled and/or socially excluded individuals, who will also be invited to create content in various formats such as workshops, performances and podcasts. This common goal brings together numerous local partners, including cultural institutions, artists, NGOs and associations, businesses and communities. Before the boat’s arrival at each port of call, local communities will be asked to devise a rich programme of events focusing on subjects directly related to the local context, involving artists of the country and the Mediterranean.


An immersion in art

The Musée du Louvre is also partnering with this maritime odyssey by presenting its Icônes! exhibition in the gallery on board the Artexplorer. The exhibition provides visitors an immersive documentary experience dedicated to the representation of women and female artists from Antiquity to the present day. The brand new experience will transport visitors inside the exhibited works. It continues on the upper deck where visitors will discover “soundscapes” via sound immersion and spatialisation technologies which the Institute for Acoustic/Music Research and Coordination (IRCAM) has been developing for more than 30 years. The 12-minute experience in binaural format allows people to explore the diversity of the Mediterranean with their eyes closed.During each crossing the magnificent catamaran will also welcome a series of artists in residence who will exchange ideas with scientists, researchers and thinkers about the Mediterranean’s ecosystems and the issues faced by the region. Their collaborative research work will be presented on their arrival. Quayside, a pop-up village will be set up in each port to welcome visitors, with pavilions featuring immersive, sensory digital exhibitions, a central hub and convivial spaces for food and catering. Visitors will also be able to enjoy artistic performances, concerts, talks, film screenings, workshops and themed events; a rich programme that also extends to the heritage sites of the ports of call.

La maquette du premier bateau-musée ArtExplorer a été exposée à Marseille en mai 2022 © Michel Planque

A project with a green heart

In addition to being a sailing catamaran, the museum-boat is equipped with solar panels that generate part of its energy requirements. The pop-up village by Wilmotte & Associés Architects boasts an original, aesthetically pleasing design that is innovative and modular. Made from recycled containers, it can both accommodate visitors and serve as storage for the exhibition during transit. The wood is bio-sourced from eco-certified forests, and the spaces will be ventilated by natural convection.

By Mathilde Hingray


+ d'art et culture