Islam, Interactivity And a Drone: Chevalier and Mossessian Reunite for “Digital Arabesques”

I’m always happy to see collaborations among artists grow, and even happier when artistic projects explore different cultures and build bridges between distant worlds. That is why I got very excited about Digital Arabesques 2014. As featured in a recent article on Designboom, the latest collaboration between French digital artist Miguel Chevalier and filmmaker Claude Mossessian is a new way to explore oriental patterns through an interactive virtual-reality installation.

"Digital Arabesques 2014" - Image courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

“Digital Arabesques 2014” – Image courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

Digital Arabesques 2014 was showcased from 18 to 29 December 2014 as part of the Islamic Art Festival at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates), featuring 6 infrared video cameras and 6 video projectors operating in an area of 1,100 square meters. As for every interactive project, visitors were not only part of the experience, but they shaped it by being involved in the digital environment designed by Chevalier.

"Digital Arabesques 2014" - Image courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

“Digital Arabesques 2014” – Image courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my post from May 2014 in which I explained how the collaboration between these two artists began. Digital Arabesques 2014 was something new for both of them. It was Chevalier’s first truly open urban installation, and Mossessian went a step further in documenting his work by using a drone camera to capture the floor of the fountain space from a birds-eye perspective (a few minutes of footage accompanied by Michel Redolfi‘s hypnotic music are available on the director’s profile on Vimeo).

"Digital Arabesques 2014" - Image courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

“Digital Arabesques 2014” – Image courtesy of Miguel Chevalier

Digital Arabesques 2014 may not be the magic carpet we dreamed about when reading Middle-Eastern stories and folk tales, but while watching Mossessian’s framing of Chevalier’s work I can’t help thinking that there is a little bit of that in it. The only difference is that if the carpet is not flying here, our eyes are through his camera.