Maurice Benayoun: Perspectives on Design 3: Artistic Intentions at Work, Hypothesis for Committing Art

Department of Art Spring 2010 Lecture Series

Maurice Benayoun is a pioneering new-media artist whose work has been seen and appreciated around the globe. Born in Algeria, Benayoun is based in Paris. His work employs various media — including (and often combining) video, virtual reality, web, wireless technology, performance, public-space large-scale art installations, and interactive exhibitions.

During the 1980s, Benayoun directed video installations and short films about contemporary artists, including Daniel Buren, Jean Tinguely, Sol LeWitt, and Martial Raysse. That work introduced the concept of Situation developed later by Benayoun in other media as a means to expand understanding of symbolic contexts through immersion in multimedia environments.

Between 1990 and 1993, Benayoun collaborated with Belgian graphic novelist François Schuiten on Quarxs , the first High Definition TV 3D computer graphics series to be given awards globally. This series played with 3D realism as an unexpected way to question scientific truth and distortion.

In 1998, Benayoun won the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica, in the Interactive Art category, for World Skin, a Photo Safari in the Land of War. World Skin and The Tunnel are considered by critics to be key works in the field of interactive art — authentic artistic appropriations of technology introducing the concept of symbolic situation.

His more recent works develop the idea of “critical fusion,” mixing symbolic fiction and reality in order to make visible the limits of the real world.

Benayoun conceived and directed the exhibition Cosmopolis, Overwriting the City (2005), a giant art and science immersive installation presented in the frame of the French Year in China. He is presently in charge of the permanent exhibition of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, attempting to shift the meaning of the monument toward a reflection on symbolic architecture. 

Since 1984, Benayoun has been teaching video and media art at the Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He was artist-in-residence at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, National Fine Arts School of Paris. He is cofounder and art director of the CITU research center (Création Interactive Transdisciplinaire Universitaire) Universités Paris 1 and Paris 8 dedicated to research and creation (R&C) in the emerging forms of art.

Cosponsored by the Rose Goldsen Lecture Series, College of Arts and Sciences