Miguel Chevalier’s Digital Projections Transform Historical Sites

by Amelia Taylor-HochbergPosted on

Miguel Chevalier’s projection-based “virtual art” has a knack for constructive anachronisms. Hinting at the no-holds-barred collage-fest of Internet art, which samples from the entire history of visual media, Chevalier’s light projections put digital imagery onto the current built environment, making it immediately accessible and interactive. His “Magic Carpets” (2014) projection glazes the floor of Casablanca Cathedral in Morocco, a former Roman Catholic church turned cultural center, with colorful patterns, flitting between psychedelic paisley and abstract pixelated geometries. The patterns are reactive to the movements of walkers through the church’s nave, constantly shifting and morphing.

Another projection, entitled “The Origin of the World” (2014), lays similarly alternating patterns on the facade of the Grand Palais in Paris, coating the behemoth of French culture in blinking pixel patterns and oozing, fluorescent trippiness. The so-called “Origin of the World” seems to suggest that these forms (the curvaceous psychedelic and the simplified pixel) represent the entire spectrum of our visual history — seeming anachronistic on one surface, while still interacting with us in the present.

Viewers interacting with Miguel Chevelaier’s “Magic Carpets” interactive installation at the Casablanca Cathedral in Morocco.

The “Magic Carpets” installation responds to viewers’ movements.

The patterns fluctuate and change over time.

“The Origin of the World” projection at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Viewers respond to “The Origin of the World” projection at the Grand Palais.

Another view of “The Origin of the World.”

Interactive projection in the Forum des Halles in Paris, 2012-2014.

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