A visit to World Skin is a poignant experience. Armed with
a camera, visitors are placed in a sinister war zone that is visualized
on a large projection screen in 3D animation and video.
The war images are a collage of photographs and sequences from news
reports from different zones and theatres of war; they show a world
filled with mute violence. By operating photo cameras that are
suspended from the ceiling, visitors take pictures of the war
scenes and experience how the camera becomes a 'weapon' that enables
them to wipe out the projected images. The outline of the images that
are taken out is left as a silhouette in the projection, which becomes
increasingly empty as the visitors take more pictures and permanently
change the landscape of war. Visitors can take a print of the photos
they took with them.
The interactive soundtrack (musician Jean-Baptiste Barrière),
reproduces the sound of a world in which to breathe is to suffer. The
audio is there to enable the visitors to go beyond the play of images
and to experience this immersion as real participation in the drama. World Skin
makes us think about the status of the image and the relationship
between war and media. What is it that the photographers appropriate
when they press the button?
Benayoun presented the first version of world skin in 1997. In 1998
the impressive installation won the Golden Nica Award in the
interactive Art Category at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. Back
then, World Skin was a CAVE environment but it has now
evolved into a 3D animation with video on a flat screen. In this new
set-up at V2_ Benayoun applies the latest 3D projection technology,
combined with a new and sophisticated interactive scenario.