Maurice Benayoun, 2005

Interactive digital artwork

Materials, techniques and processes: 12 back projection screens of 4 x 3 m; 12 video projectors, 12 virtual reality telescopes, 12 plasma screens, 38 PC’s, 24 hp’s...

Dimensions: 25 meter diameter, 625 m2 surface, 3.8 m height 

Themes: glance at the broader stakes of planetary urbanization, using collective retinal memory

Cosmopolis, the World-City is an interactive multimedia exhibition whose focus is planetary urbanization and the major challenges that it poses to humanity in terms of sustainable development. It invites spectators to fully explore this important subject precisely by comparing the different urban realities of a number of different continents.

The spectator enters into a grand dynamic panorama of a city in permanent mutation. Around her, twelve viewpoint telescopes allow 360 degree observation of twelve global urban realities. Each urban reality can be discovered from five different points of view. Far from the touristic landscapes we might expect, large urban problems are posed by the simple choice of a point of view. 

It’s only later that the spectator understands that it’s precisely her observation - through the respective telescopes - which is creating Cosmopolis’s large panorama. This panorama comprises a spectacular city in a constant process of transformation. At regular intervals, the panorama’s replaced by an urban landscape decrypted by a scanner. Sweeping away the circumference of the central space, critical zones are made to appear by means of words, sounds, videos and interviews; which, in turn, indicate the limits of both urban orientations and versatile methods of continuing growth. Cosmopolis is thus a space of exchange, analysis, contemplation and action; and it predicts new methods for experiencing the urban orientations accessible to the citizens of the world. 


Photos and video by Maurice Benayoun

Voice over : Harry Long