Image from WorldsFairPhotos.com, the Bill Cotter collection, with our sincere thanks.
The Labyrinth Pavilion
|Labyrinth is one of the most ambitious of
all the projects.
It is an interpretation and consummation of Expo's unique Theme program.
The intention of the Labyrinth - prepared by the National Film Board of Canada - is to tell significantly in a 45-minute film the essential Story of Man.
The Labyrinth Pavilion is in Cité du Havre, a short walk from Expo's main entrance.
A dictionary definition of "labyrinth" is "a place constructed of or full of intricate passageways and blind alleys."
Labyrinth at the Universal and International Exhibition of 1967 is a contemporary adaptation of the Minotaur legend of ancient Greece.
The Minotaur was a monster, half bull and half man, living in a labyrinth. Each year tribute was exacted of Athenian maidens and youths whom the Minotaur devoured. Then the hero Theseus slew the Minotaur.
Relating this idea to the Theme of Expo - Man and his World - the film makers draw an analogy. As Theseus the hero advanced through the mysterious passageways of the labyrinth, so Man throughout time has been exploring the planet earth and his environment - from cave man to spaceman.
Labyrinth is intended to bring the viewer intimate insight into the fundamental significance of Man and his World.
Man, the universal Theseus of this 1967 tale, performs his deeds in a remarkable theatre of three chambers. Such physical innovations as use of flooring for the screen have made it essential that the theatre be tailored to fit the film. Architecture becomes as significant a factor as sight and sound.
The pre-stressed concrete building of five stories can accommodate 720 people at a time. They will be distributed in groups through the three chambers, and at one stage will be surrounded by reflected images on all sides. At another point, they will gaze down from ramps on a huge screen 40 feet below and be subjected to sensations "so strong that some will want to grip the handrail."
Film for the Labyrinth has been specially shot by cameramen in many countries. There are no name stars to this movie - the dominant character is Man!
In the first long, high chamber spectators experience a sense of participation comparable to dropping out into space, with the world left far below.
In the second chamber, visitors move along walkways set between mirrored glass prisms.
In the final chamber, the audience faces a multiscreen battery of unparalleled scope - using five screens, so that areas of the mind are exercised that almost have not been exercised before.
If Theseus in this immensely expanded legend is Man, what is the Minotaur? To visit Labyrinth will be certainly one of Expo 67's unforgettable highlights. Labyrinths have been associated with Man from distant antiquity with his striving to bring significance and coherence to his existence.
Click here to see a map of the Labyrinth floor plan.
Click here to see the construction of the Labyrinth.