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A Visit with the Artist Maurice Benayoun

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Art Option Premiere and Terminale students met artist Maurice Benayoun, who presented his work.

Maurice Benayoun is a theorist and contemporary artist based in Paris and Hong Kong, who specifically works using new technologies. His artworks use various media, such as video, virtual reality and interactive exhibits, all of which enable him to reach a vast audience. 

As such, we explored an artist’s relationship to their art, their work and the world around them. His willingness to “change the world” is reflected in his artworks which, over the years, have presented new ways to approach humanity and space through technology: some artworks are based on people’s emotions, such as, for example, “Emotion Forecast”, whose form is inspired by weather forecasts but whose purpose is to predict the emotions felt by certain populations, while others focus more on geography and the concept of links, like “Tunnel Under the Atlantic”, an interactive installation whereby communication is enabled between two distant places.

Maurice Benayoun presented an artwork that explores humans’ relationship with urban landscapes. The “Cosmopolis” interactive installation is comprised of 12 telescopes that each produce a spherical panorama of a specific city. The artist then spoke about the notion of “retinal memory”, explaining that humans can see without being able to share what they see with others. This artwork seeks to correct this problem: what each person observes through a telescope is reproduced on a common canvas. When all 12 telescopes are occupied, images from all 12 cities are blended on the canvas, hence the concept of “Cosmopolis”. This production was exhibited in 4 Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing.

Jessica Cathala, TL, Art Option