Don't miss larger-than-life jack-in-the-boxes at Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles

There are five fantastical creatures living in the Place des Festivals in downtown Montreal, but there are only three weeks left before they disappear.

They might be shy at first, but once you give them a little encouragement, they come right out of their shells.

Built to look like larger-than-life jack-in-the-boxes, the five inflatable characters were installed for the 10th edition of Luminothérapie.

Each year, the Quartier des Spectacles holds a competition for pieces of interactive, multidisciplinary public art, and one is selected to be installed in the heart of the Place des Festivals.

In previous years, artists have made singing dominos and illuminated teeter-totters. 

Ulysse Lemerise/Quartier des Spectacles

This year's installation looks like an ordinary group of five tall boxes, at a glance. It's only when visitors raise their voices that the creatures — named Popo, Popup, Popli, Popette and Popotin — emerge.

The more sound they hear through the colourful platforms, the more energy the inflatables take on, until they are wiggling and giggling themselves.

The installation's creators are Montreal-based designers and producers with a company called Gentilhomme.

The creatures, at their full height, are more than two metres tall, and their boxes, called monoliths, weigh in at more than 400 kilograms.

Monique Simard, who chairs the  Partenariat du Quartier des spectacles, described the competition as a "springboard for numerous artists."

The installations chosen each year "have a universal and unifying character that allows them to delight thousands of people," Simard said in a statement.

The annual event is Quebec's biggest competition for temporary public installations and doesn't end at the Place des Festivals.

Works created for Luminothérapie have toured more than 35 cities around the world, including New York, London, Brussels and Washington.

The 10th edition of Luminothérapie at the Place des Festivals opened Nov. 28 and ends Jan. 26, 2020. It runs from noon to 11 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday. Visiting the installation is free.