Maurice Benayoun 從虛到實的追尋
"I do art because I want to create something that will have an impact on the world." said Maurice Benayoun.
Maurice Benayoun, the French pioneer new media artist, uses different media including videos, virtual reality, internet, and wireless technology, to present large-scale urban art installations and interactive exhibitions to express his artistic concept. He had a keen interest in arts from his boyhood. At first, he was in contact with modern paintings and photography. He later studied philosophy at university and deepened his understanding of art theory.
“I am good at physics and mathematics, and I have a certain understanding of philosophy. Doing scientific research can be quite exciting, but to some extent you’re not free. Making art gives you an influential freedom. I’m very interested in the history of art, people still talk about paintings from 1,200 years ago which validates their value. I do art because I want to create something that will have an impact on the world. I don’t want to execute the artistic approaches that has been utilized before, but I want to discover new ways to express ideas. My creative drive largely comes from the stimulation brought about by creating art with new form of media. ” said, Maurice.
莫奔的作品經常配合視頻、置身其境式的虛擬現實去創作，談到自己的作品，他表示：「我會形容我使用的媒介是Open Art，很多時我都是透過不同的嘗試和實驗，去決定運用那種媒介去表達作品的主題。在八十年代我起用電腦成象（computer graphic） 創作一系列的短片，這在當時來說是非常新穎的。同一時期，我亦開始以虛擬實境創作，我是當時全球五位以虛擬實境創作的藝術家中其中一位。」
Maurice ‘s works are often accompanied by video and placed in his realm of virtual reality. When talking about his own work he said, “I will describe the medium I use as ‘Open Art’. I often try out different attempts then I decided to use certain medium to showcase the concept of my art. In the 1980’s, I created a series using computer graphics, which was very futuristic during that time. At the same period, I began to create virtual reality art. I was one of the five artists in the world who doing art with virtual reality."
莫奔的其中一個作品Is God Flat? 令我們聯想到哲學性的方向，莫奔指創作的理念是非常簡單：為什麼要做藝術？引導觀眾思考我們存在於這世界上的身份。他指人們存在於世界中，他們其實是創造世界的其中一員，Is God Flat?是透過虛擬實境的媒介，讓人去嘗試理解：為什麼這個世界存在？這作品希望引領觀眾去反思，這個世界是這樣運行，是因「造物者」如此創造世界，還是因為我們的行徑？
One of Maurice ’s works ‘Is God Flat?’ directs us into philosophical thinking. Maurice ’s notion of art is very simple: Why do you want to do art? To guide the audience to ponder over our identity in this world. He pointed out that people live in this world and that they are part of the world. ‘Is God Flat?’ is portrayed through the medium of virtual reality. It enables people to reflect on, ‘Why this world exists?’ The work hopes to lead the audience to wonder on the question. ‘Does the world operate this way because the “creator” built it the way it is, or is it because of our actions?’
他的另外一個作品Brain factory同樣論述我們創造藝術的原因，是因為我們嘗試去定義某種事物？是因為我們嘗試去可視化我們的靈魂？在這個作品中，透過3D 打印的技術，人們看到特定的詞句，存於人們腦海的念頭、對該字詞的反應變得具體、形象化，成為一件實物——雕塑。「當我們談及自由，沒有人知道自由的形狀是怎樣，但我們知道自由的感覺。我們可能會聯想到手執火炬的女性，但這都只是一個象徵。我創作Brian Factory是想知道，不用言語、動作，我們把存於腦海的感覺變得實體化，會是怎樣。對我來說，重要的不是創作的成品，而是創作的過程。」莫奔說。
Another one of his works, the ‘Brain factory’, also discusses why we create art, is it because we try to define something? Is it because we try to visualize our souls? In this work, through the technology of 3D printing, people see certain words and the thoughts in their minds. The reactions to the words become concrete and figurative, then it becomes a figurine of the real things. “When we talk about freedom, no one knows what it looks like, but we know what it feels like to be free. We might think of women with torches, but it is only a symbol. I created ‘Brain Factory’ to see what it would be like to have our thoughts materialized without words or actions. What matters to me is not the result, but the process of creating it.” said, Maurice Benayoun.
莫奔在創作時喜歡做一些前人從未做過的嘗試，就像The Tunnel under the Atlantic這個作品，在法國巴黎龐畢度中心和加拿大蒙特利爾Museum of Contemporary Art之間，他建造了一個虛擬實境隧道。在這之前，從沒有人試過這樣做，在兩個國家之間建造一個虛擬實境的隧道，經過不停拋挖掘，兩地的人們可看見彼此、遇見彼此、與彼此交談。(當中拍下的照片，又成為他另一個作品Tunnel Shots Project)
Maurice Benayoun likes to do something that no one has done before. Like the work ‘The Tunnel under the Atlantic' between the Pompidou Centre in Paris, France and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Canada. He built a virtual reality tunnel which no one has ever attempted before. Building a virtual reality tunnel between the two countries, allowed people who kept going through it to see each other, meet each other and even talk to each other. (The picture taken inside is another of his works, Tunnel Shots Project)
談到最難忘的創作經驗，莫奔指是World Skin, A Photo Safari in the Land of War，當中起用了二次世界大戰時的照片，參與這個虛擬實境藝術的觀眾手執相機四處探索拍照，每當他們拍下照片，被拍下的一部分就會消失，變成空白一片。在這件作品中，相機這賦予人們拍照並「刪除」記憶的能力，但留白的空間亦很難讓人忽視。「最初參與的觀眾都很興奮，以為那是電子遊戲，但逐漸變得神色凝重。」莫奔道。
When it comes to the memorable creative experience, Maurice Benayoun refers to the ‘World Skin, A Photo Safari in the land of War’, which used photos from the World War II. The audience participating in the virtual reality art took pictures and explored with the camera. Whenever they take a picture, the part that was photographed disappears and becomes a blank piece. In this work, the camera gives people the ability to take pictures and “delete” their memories, but it left a blank space which is very hard to ignore. "The spectators were initially very excited and thought it was a video game, but it gradually became dignified."
For some people, art is a way of expressing one's self. Some people regard it more as a faith and an indispensable part of their lives. As an artist, Maurice Benayoun has a sense of delegation. He hopes to express his ideas in an innovative form of art, to trigger associations and to reflect on our role in this world.
The french pioneer new media artist and theoretician, now lives in Hong Kong. His works use different media to portray large-scale urban art installations and interactive exhibitions. It involves videos, virtual reality, internet and wireless technology.
Image and video used with permission