Maurice Benayoun

Maurice Benayoun
Maurice Benayoun
Birth name Maurice Benayoun
Born 29 March 1957 (1957-03-29) (age 54)
Mascara, Algeria
Field New Media Art

Maurice Benayoun (aka MoBen) (b. 29 March 1957 in Mascara, Algeria) is a new-media artist an theorist based in Paris who has won numerous awards for his work.[1] His work employs various media, including (and often combining) video, immersive virtual reality, the Web, wireless technology, performance, large-scale urban art installations and interactive exhibitions.



Born in Mascara, Algeria in March 1957, he moved to France in 1958. In the 1980s Benayoun directed video installations and short films about contemporary artists, including Daniel Buren, Jean Tinguely, Sol LeWitt and Martial Raysse. In 1987 he co-founded Z-A, a computer graphics and Virtual Reality lab. Between 1990 and 1993, Benayoun collaborated with Belgian graphic novelist François Schuiten on Quarxs, a computer graphics world that explores variant worlds with alternate physical laws.[2] In 1993, he received the Villa Medicis Hors Les Murs for his Art After Museum project, a virtual reality contemporary art collection.

After 1994 Benayoun was involved with more virtual-reality and interactive-art installations. One of these was described by Jean-Paul Fargier in Le Monde (1994) as "the first Metaphysical Video Game". One important work from this period includes The Tunnel under the Atlantic, finished in 1995. This was a tele-virtual project linking the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal.[3] In 1997 he creates with Jean-Baptiste Barrière World Skin, a Photo Safari in the Land of War, an immersive installation, often mentionned as a reference in virtual art, which was awarded with the Golden Nica, Ars Electronica 1998.

World Skin (1997), Maurice Benayoun's Virtual Reality Interactive Installation

The Navigation Room (1997) and The Membrane (2001) were created for the Cité des Sciences de la Villette. The Navigation Room presented, through an innovative interface, highly personalized visits and content, ending with a web page dedicated to each visitor. The Membrane (2001) — the core of the exhibition Man Transformed — was a large surface breathing and feeling the presence of the visitors. The Panoramic Tables for the Planet of Visions pavilion for Hanover EXPO2000, directed by François Schuiten, was an innovative application of augmented reality. In 2006, together with the architect Christophe Girault, they created the new permanent exhibition inside the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, opening in February 2007.

Benayoun conceived and directed the exhibition Cosmopolis, Overwriting the City (2005), a giant art and science immersive installation presented for French Year in China in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and CongQing. In 2008, NeORIZON, a large scale urban installation in Shanghai, converted people into flash codes then becoming the city itself. Initiated in 2005, the series of works, Mechanics of Emotions presents Internet as the world nerve system and world emotions as a possible material for the new metaphoric model of economy.

In 2008 Maurice Benayoun submitted his blog, The Dump, a dump of undone art projects, as a doctorate thesis entitled: Artistic Intentions at Work, Hypothesis for Committing Art at Université Paris 1, la Sorbonne. The Phd received the "mention très honorable" (the highest distinction in the French academic system).

As a theorist, Maurice Benayoun coined the concepts of Critical Fusion, as "the fusion of fiction and reality to decypher the world" and Extended Relativity, a model from physics to understand the process of subjective data mining and urban navigation . He consideres his recent works as a form of Open Art, paraphrasing Jon Ippolito, not limitated to the traditional forms, media and economic schemes of art.

From 1984 to 2010 he was assistant professor at Paris 1 university, Pantheon-Sorbonne, where he was co-founder and art director of the CITU research center (Création Interactive Transdisciplinaire Universitaire) together with Paris 8 University. CiTu is dedicated to research and creation (R&C) in the emerging forms of art. In 2010 he became associate professor at Paris 8 university, were he founded, in 2011, H2H Lab (the Human to Human Lab), a cluster of public and private labs envisionning art as an advanced form of human mediations.


The Tunnel under the Atlantic (1995), Maurice Benayoun's Virtual Reality Interactive Installation
Cosmopolis (2005), Maurice Benayoun's Giant Virtual Reality Interactive Installation
  • SACD Awards, Interactive Arts, Paris, June 2009
  • Qwartz, digital art, Paris, April 2009
  • e-Toile d'Or, Net Art, Paris, January 2005
  • Best multimedia project, Grotte Chauvet, France 2001
  • Winner, Architecture competition with Jean Nouvel, Subway Station Franklin Roosevelt, Paris 2000
  • Golden Nica (first prize), interactive art category, Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria, 1998
  • Second prize, Images du Futur '96, category opens titles, Montreal 1996
  • Second prize Pixel INA, Opens Titles Category, Imagina 1996, Monte Carlo, February 1996
  • Finalist Best Achievement, International Monitor Awards, Opens/closes category, Los Angeles, oct. 1995.
  • Honorary Mention, Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria, April 1995
  • JOSE ABEL Prize, Best European animation film, Cinanima, Animation Film Festival of Espinho, Portugal, Oct. 1994
  • Silver Trophy, Espace Creation, F.A.U.S.T., Toulouse, Novembre 1994
  • Distinction (2nd prize), Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria, June 1994
  • 3rd Prize, fiction category, Imagina ’94, Monte Carlo, February 1994
  • Best Electronic Special Effects, International Monitor Awards, Los Angeles, 1993
  • Best Video Paint Design, International Monitor Award, Los Angeles 1993
  • Nomination, Best Computer Animation, International Monitor Awards, Los Angeles 93
  • First Prize Pixel INA, Opens Title category Imagina ’93, Monte Carlo, February 1993
  • 3rd Prize, FICTION category Imagina ’94, Monte Carlo, February 1993
  • First Prize, Third Dimension Award, SCAM, Paris, November 1991
  • Best Script Award, Paris Cité 1991, Paris, October 1991
  • Honorary Mention, Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria, September 1991
  • 1st Prize, Artistic Animation category, Truevision competition, SIGGRAPH, Las Vegas, 1991
  • Image fixe prize, Paris Cité, Paris, France, 1990
  • 1st Prize Communication Image, Tech Image competition, Paris, 1990

Selected works

Le Diable est-il courbe? (Is the devil curved?), 1995
  • Big Questions : Is God Flat? (1994)
  • Is the Devil Curved? (1995)
  • And what about me? (1996-7)
  • World Skin, a photo safari in the Land of War (1997)-Golden Nica, Ars Electronica Festival 1998
  • Crossing Talks, Communication Rafting (1999)
  • Art Impact, collective Retinal Memory (2000)
  • Labylogue (2000)
  • So.So.So., Somebody, Somewhere, Some Time (2002)
  • Watch Out (2004)
  • Cosmopolis, Overwritting the City (2005)
  • Mechanics of Emotions (2005- )
  • NeORIZON (2008)
  • Still Moving (2008)
  • The Dump (2006- )


  1. ^ Paul Catanese, Director's Third Dimension: Fundamentals of 3d Programming in Director 8.5, Sams Publishing, 2001, p314. ISBN 0672322285
  2. ^ Stephen Wilson, Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology, MIT Press, 2002, p705. ISBN 0262731584
  3. ^ Lars Qvortrupp, Virtual Space: Spatiality in Virtual Inhabited 3d Worlds, Springer, 2002, p222. ISBN 1852335165


External links

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