La grande diagonale was a very large collective radio and ICT project developed by Avatar for the La parallaxe symposium.
It was also part of Rivers and Bridges, an international project by the Ars Acoustica group. La grande diagonale was also presented on the Le Navire Night program, hosted by Hélène Prévost, on Radio-Canada’s Chaîne culturelle.
Avatar’s Jocelyn Robert oversaw the artistic direction with Janos Sugar, an artist from Budapest, in Quebec City. In Montreal, Joëlle Ciona and Jean Routhier crossed the Jacques Cartier Bridge with an earpiece. In the Radio-Canada studio, Christof Migone and Martin Tétreault listened and recreated the audio coming from the bridge using different sounds. Back in Quebec City, David Michaud, Martin Meilleur, Jocelyn Robert, and Daniel Rochette received the Montreal artists’ audio in Radio-Canada’s Palais-Montcalm studio and began a conversation. James Partaik and Michel St-Onge were at La Chambre Blanche in Quebec City and did their utmost to interfere in the Montreal–Quebec City exchange. Luc Lévesque aided the two artists from afar by sending the sounds of the Erasmus Bridge inauguration in Rotterdam. The work was retransmitted from Quebec City to Vienna where it was then broadcast all across Europe by the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) satellite. From the end of a telephone line in Linz, Italian artist Roberto Paci Dalo was also listening and threatening to interfere at any moment.
The two-part sound performance was broadcast February 22 and 23, 1997, on Radio-Canada’s Chaîne culturelle.