Flying carpets 2005
Mixed media installation
Project of an installation for Jamaa El Fna square, Marrakech, Morocco
Inflatable structures with helium gas
Size: 11960 sq.yd
Software: Eric Wenger
For these two projects inspired by the city of Marrakech, Miguel Chevalier has fused his artistic vision of the contemporary world and the transformations being brought about by science and technology in particular, the interconnected information flows and sprawling networks that shape our modern world and maintain the state of flux in which we now live &emdash; with that of a vibrant popular tradition at its most colorful. His exploration of Marrakech, seen through the double prism of Islamic mosaics and the legendary flying carpets that have enchanted readers of The Arabian Nights since the stories were first introduced to Europe in 1704 by Antoine Galland, plunges him into new universe and infuses his regard with its rich tradition of fantastic literature and non-representational divine art.
Digital Arabesques and Digital Constellations have been specially conceived for a particular city, Marrakech, and for a unique location, the Jamaa El Fna, the city's throbbing heart. In this place, designated as a "masterpiece of humanity's oral and intangible heritage" by UNESCO, one can find an ancestral folk culture which has been kept alive for centuries by snake charmers, jugglers and bards as well as storytellers. It was this locus of oral culture that Miguel Chevalier chose as the meeting point for an encounter between folk tradition and digital art. In the crowded square, a whirlwind of scents and voices, his technological vision takes on a magic, dream-like quality, forming both a real and virtual landscape: his airy "mosaic balloons" are ethereal like soap bubbles, his shimmering carpets ripple and float in the air.