World Skin is an interactive installation by Maurice Benayoun. First developed for the CAVE (1997) it was realized as an installation in the context of the IFFR at V2_ in 2010.
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.