Maurice Benayoun

Profile Picture
Currently based
Hong Kong
Affiliated institution
City University

Born in Mascara, Algeria in March 1957, from a father killed before his birth in the Algerian independence war. He moved to France in 1958, following his mother and his brother, to live in popular suburbs in north Paris where the family stayed during most of his childhood.

Taught in Contemporary and Fine Arts, Benayoun’s practice rapidly moves to photography, video and computer graphics. In the 80’s, Benayoun directed video installations and short videos about contemporary artists, including Daniel Buren (1983), Jean Tinguely, Sol LeWitt and Martial Raysse (1985). He keeps from is Fine Arts background, a critical and conceptual approach of practice. In 1987 he co-founds Z-A Production (1987-2003), an innovative computer graphics and Virtual Reality private lab, that became one of the leading companies in France in the field during this pioneering time. This is where he started exploring the potential of the most advanced media. Between 1990 and 1993, Benayoun collaborated with Belgian graphic novelist François Schuiten on Quarxs, the first animation series made of HD computer graphics, exploring variant creatures with alternate physical laws. From the pilot (1991) to the series broadcast in prime time in 1993, Quarxs received numerous international awards.

In 1993, he received the Villa Medicis Hors Les Murs award for his Art After Museum project, a virtual reality contemporary art collection. After 1994 Benayoun was involved with more virtual-reality and interactive-art installations. One important work from this period includes The Tunnel under the Atlantic, completed in 1995. For his first solo show, Maurice Benayoun was presenting a Virtual Reality installation linking two big museums: the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal. More than a technical performance, that it was too as the first intercontinental virtual reality artwork (called “televirtuality”, Philippe Quéau, 1994), this installation was one-of-a-kind example of what Maurice Benayoun calls architecture of communication, another way to explore the limits of communication presaging the rise of the phatic in human communication.

World Skin, a Photo Safari in the Land of War, created together with the composer Jean-Baptiste Barrière, is an immersive installation often presented as a reference in virtual art. One of the first virtual reality work with a specific content: the relation between, war, personal engagement, and memory, World Skin was awarded the Golden Nica, Ars Electronica 1998, the major distinction in interactive arts.

The Navigation Room (1997, exhibition New Image, New Networks) and The Membrane (2001) were created for the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris. "The Navigation Room" could be considered as the prototype of the interactive educative exhibition, deeply immersive, with highly personalized visits and content generating a web page dedicated to each visitor. The Membrane (2001) — the core of the exhibition Man Transformed — was a large surface breathing and feeling the presence of the visitors, digesting and distributing information in constant physical dialog with the public. Benayoun defined this as organic design. The Panoramic Tables for the Planet of Visions pavilion for Hanover EXPO2000, directed by François Schuiten, was an innovative application of augmented reality. In 2006, with the architect Christophe Girault, they created War and Peace, the permanent exhibition inside the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, that opened in February 2007. War and Peace questioned the significance of a national monument dedicated to Napoleon’s Army. The exhibition was destroyed in fall 2018, during the Yellow vest movement in Paris. After Art Impact (Pompidou Center, Paris, 2000) where he used for the first time VR binoculars to share the experience of watching (the Collective Retinal Memory) Benayoun conceived and directed the exhibition Cosmopolis, Overwriting the City (2005), a large scale art and science immersive installation presented during the French Year in China in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Chongqing. This immersive exhibition received in Shanghai up to more than ten thousand visitors per day. This was Maurice Benayoun’s first experience in China, and the reception by the public played an important role in later Benayoun’s move to Asia. Benayoun initiated in 2005 the series of works Mechanics of Emotions presents the Internet as the world nerve system and world emotions as a possible material for the new metaphoric model of the economy. In this series, Benayoun produced many installations and urban art projects during the 10 years that followed.

Benayoun started to work on urban media in 2002, with Watch Out! in Seoul, an urban installation about surveillance commissioned by the Art Center Nabi. In 2008, he exhibits in Shanghai streets NeORIZON, a large-scale urban installation that converts the public into QR codes that become the building blocks of the city. From the series Mechanics of Emotions, he produced many urban screen artworks, Emotion Forecast (2011, Paris, 2012 New York, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Melbourne, Hong Kong). To extend his vision of Urban Media Art, Maurice Benayoun launched in 2014, as a curator, the Open Sky Project, inviting artists (the Open Sky Gallery), and MFA students (the Open Sky Campus) to conceive and present works for one of the largest screens in the world at the time, the Hong Kong ICC media façade (70,000 sqm). This program offered to more than 100 artists and students, the opportunity to exhibit their work in the public space. The ICC media façade represents about half the surface of the Hong Kong Skyline video displays.

To finance his studies, he became in 1978, a secondary school teacher in fine arts and literature. Benayoun graduated in Fine Arts (Pantheon-Sorbonne University) in the early 1980s, when he was already teaching full time. He was awarded in 1982 with Aggregation d’Arts Plastiques, a highly competitive degree in the French education system leading to a tenure position, opening the doors of University teaching. From 1984 to 2010 he was an assistant professor at Paris 1 University, Pantheon-Sorbonne, where he was co-founder and art director of the CITU research center (Création Interactive Transdisciplinaire Universitaire) together with Paris 8 University. CiTu, dedicated to research and creation (R&C) in the emerging forms of art, is where he developed many National, European and International collaborative Art and Science research programs. In 1995 – 1997, Benayoun was the Invited Artist and Professor at ENSBA, the French National School of Fine Arts. In 2008 Maurice Benayoun submitted his blog, The Dump, a dump of undone art projects, as a doctorate thesis entitled: Artistic Intentions at Work, Hypothesis for Committing Art at Université Paris 1, La Sorbonne. Supervised by Prof. Anne-Marie Duguet, the Ph.D. thesis was awarded “mention très honorable, avec felicitations du jury” (First-Class Honors with Distinction). The defense in front of an international examination panel, published in 2011, was a performance fully video recorded.

In 2010, Benayoun became an associate professor at Paris 8 University, where he founds (2011) H2H Lab (the Human to Human Lab), a cluster of public and private labs envisioning art as an advanced form of human mediations. The same year he co-founds Arts-H2H Labex (Lab of Excellence) a research lab lead by Paris 8 University. In August 2012, he becomes full Professor in the School of Creative Media of City University of Hong Kong. He is Chair of the School of Graduate Studies and the Ph.D. program (2014-2018).

Maurice Benayoun gave more than 300 invited and Keynote lectures in major universities and international conferences. This includes Columbia University, Cornell, Duke, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, SFAI, Parsons School of Design, University of Toronto, UCL, Goldsmiths, Ecole Polytechnique, ENS Ulm, Keio University, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University, to name but a few.
(from / and Sept. 2019)

Teaching positions
2019 – pres. Full Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
Tenure starting Jan. 2019.
2012 - 2018 Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong,
Chair of the School of Graduate Studies committee,
PhD program coordinator.
2010 - 2012 Associate Professor, Information and Communication Sciences, Paris 8 University, Grade 7 (the highest in the position)

1997 - 1998 Invited Artist and Professor at National School of Fine Arts, ENSBA (Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts), Paris

1987 - 1992 Programme leader of bachelor degree in Cinema and Video (Paris 1 Univ.)

1985 - 2010 Assistant Professor at Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne University

1982 - 2008 Professeur Agrégé in Fine Arts, tenure position
1978 - 1986 Teacher advisor and educator (Formation, Académique de Creteil, France)
1978 - 1982 Teacher in Art and Literature

2008 PhD in Fine Arts and Art Sciences, Université Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne. «Artistic Intentions at Works, Hypotheses for Committing Art» Mention « très honorable avec félicitations du jury», Supervisor Prof. Anne-Marie Duguet, examiners: Prof. Jean da Silva, Prof. Hubertus von Amelunxen, Mr Louis Bec, Prof. Derrick de Kerckhove.
1983 MA, (DEA) Université Paris 1, Pantheon Sorbonne
1982 Agrégation d’Arts plastiques
1975 - 80 BA, (Licence) Université Paris 1, Pantheon- Sorbonne
1975–1978 2 years university degree in Contemporary literature, Université Paris 4, Sorbonne

Awards and Selections
❏ Chevalier of Arts and Literature (knighthood), by the French Ministry of Culture, 2000
❏ Golden Nica, Interactive Art category, Ars Electronica, June 1998.
❏ Villa Medicis Hors les Murs Award, from the French Foreign Office, 1992

● Novum Design Awards, Golden Interior design Award, 2019
● World Omosiroi Awards, Finalist, Osaka Knowledge Capital, Japan, 2019
● S+T+Arts HORIZON2020, The Arts Stimulating Innovation, highly competititve collaborative EU grant, awarded in Aug. 2018
● ACIM Research Fellowship, 2018, 3 years, Challenges and opportunities of the blockchain technology for Hong Kong cultural and creative industries.
● Selection, short list, competition “Réinventer Paris”, with Atelier CMYT, March 2018
● OPLINE PRIZE, Nomination, 2017
● ACIM Research Fellowship, 2017, 3 years, Reverse Neuro-Design
● Nominated for Ars Electronica Visionary Pioneer Award (nomination through ballot of Ars Electronica Golden Nica award winners), 2014
● Semi-finalist for the International Award for Public Art (IAPA), administered by the Institute of Public Art (Hong Kong), Forecast Public Art (New York), and Shanghai University (China), May 2014
● Commission, ZERO1 Biennial, San Jose, California, USA, Sept. 2012
● Commission, International Media Art Biennial, Seoul, Korea, Sept. 2012
● Absolute Think Tank Award, Athens, June 2012
● Multimedia Award, SACD, (French Playwrights and Composers Society), Paris 2009.
● Qwartz Award, Digital Arts, MCD, Paris 2009.
● Winner with Christophe Girault competition for the Arc de Triomphe permanent installation, Paris 2006
● e-Toile d’Or, Net Art, Paris, January 2005
● Official Selection, Festival International du Film d’Animation et d’architecture, Baden, Switzerland, Sept. 2003
● Best Multimedia Project, Grotte Chauvet, France 2001
● Winner, with Jean Nouvel, architecture competition, Metro station Franklin D. Roosevelt, Paris 2000.
● Official Selection, Festival de Creacion Audiovisual de Navarra, Spain, 1999.
● Official Selection, Biennale do Mercosul, Brazil, Nov. 1999.
● Official Selection, ICC Biennale, Tokyo, Japan, Oct.-Nov. 1999.
● Official Selection, Art Show, Siggraph ‘98, Orlando, USA, August 1998.
● Golden Nica, Interactive Art category, Ars Electronica, June 1998.
● 2nd Prize, Images du futur ‘96, Opening title category, Montreal 1996.
● 2nd Prize, Imagina 1996, opening title category, Monte-Carlo, Feb.1996.
● Finalist Best Achievement, International Monitor Awards, opening title category, Los Angeles, Oct. 1995.
● Official Selection, Anima Mundi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August, 1995.
● Official Selection, Film West, Sydney, Australia, July 1995.
● Honorary Mention, Ars Electronica Linz, Austria, April 1995.
● Official Selection, Video Fest, Berlin, Germany, Feb.1995.
● José Abel Award, Cinanima, Espinho, Portugal, Oct. 1994.
● Silver Trophy, Espace Création, F.A.U.S.T., Toulouse, France, Nov. 1994.
● Official Selection, Electronic Theater, 5th ISEA 1994, International Symposium on Electronic Art 94, Helsinki, Finland, 1994
● Official Selections Siggraph ‘94:
- Siggraph Electronic Theater, Orlando, July 1994
- Siggraph Screening Room, Orlando, July 1994
- Siggraph Art and Design Show, Orlando, USA, July 1994
● Distinction (2nd Prize), Ars Electronica Linz, Austria, June 1994
● 3rd Prize, Fiction category, Imagina 94 Monte-Carlo, Feb. 1994
● International Monitor Awards 93, Los Angeles, July 1993
- International Monitor Award, Best Electronic Special Effects
- International Monitor Award, Best Video Paint Design
- International Monitor Award, nominated, Best Computer Animation,
● 1st Prize, Opening Title category, Imagina 93 Monte-Carlo, Feb. 1993
● 3rd Prize, Fiction category, Imagina 93 Monte-Carlo, Feb. 1993
● Official Selection, 5éme Festival du film par ordinateur, Geneva, Switzerland, May 1992.
● “Troisième dimension” Award (3rd Dimension), SCAM Paris, France, November 1991.
● Best Scenario Award, Paris Cité 91 Paris, France, October 1991.
● Honorary Mention, Ars Electronica Linz, Austria, September 1991.
● 1st Prize, Artistic Animation Category, Truevision Videographic, SIGGRAPH, Las Vegas, USA, July 1991.
● Official Selection, Images du futur, Montreal, Canada, September 1991.
● Still Image Award, Paris Cité, Paris, 1990
● Official Selection, 1st International Film on Art Biennial, Pompidou Centre, Paris, France, 1987
● Official Selection, Film on Art Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 1987
● Official Selection, Rencontres internationales de vidéo, Montbéliard, France, 1986

Participation to committees, juries, boards…
Scientific committees of conferences, colloquiums and symposia organisations
● ACM Multimedia 2019 (ACMMM 2019), Nice, France, Chair of the Art Exhibition
● ACIM Board Member
● Research Assessment Exercise RAE 2020, Member of Creative Arts, Performing Arts & Design Panel
● CityU Research Committee Member (starting Sept 2019)
● Art Machines, Conference Committee Member, 2019
● On the Road, New Media Artist in China, Appointed Curator, ChongQing, China
● SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 Brisbane Art Papers reviewer
● ISEA2019 Art Show reviewer
● Multimedia analysis for Architecture, Design and Virtual Reality games (MADVR 2016), Programme Committee Member.
● Art Machines, International Symposium on Computational Media Art (ICSMA), Symposium
Committee Member.
● CAC6 2018, Computer Art Congress, Steering Committee member
● CAC5 2016, Computer Art Congress, Scientific partner
● ISEA2016 Hong Kong, Chair of special events
● Colloque international de l’université Numérique, organising committee
● ISEA2000 Paris, organising committee
● Hyperurbain, organising committee
● H2PTM, organising committee
● 01Design, organising committee
● EuropIA, organising committee, Nice 2014
● Hyperurbain, organising committee, Paris
● Computer Art Congress 5 (CAC5), Scientific partner,
● Open Sky Project, project founder and coordinator, Hong Kong
● Fleeting Light Symposium, co-curator (with Prof. Jeffrey Shaw) organiser, Hong Kong
● VIRUS Journal Scientific Committee

Jury membership
Jury for national competition assistant professors in Fine arts (agrégation)

Jury member for National art schools graduation

● Mindspaces Open Call organizer and jury member
● S+T+Arts Prize, Ars Electronica advisor 2018-2019
● Cap Digital, The French Cluster for Digital Content and Service. Board Member (until 2012)
● Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris (ENSBA)
● Ecole Européenne Supérieure de l’Image

Jury member for national schools of architectures:
● Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture ESA
● École Nationale d’architecture Paris-la Villette,
● École Nationale d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais...

Jury member of national and International competitions and events
● ISEA2016 HONG KONG, chair and Jury of the Open Sky Gallery International Open Call
● IFVA 2016, Hong Kong
● Imagina Festival, Monte Carlo (multiple participations)

● Ars Electronica festival, Linz, Austria (multiple participations),

● Banff Television festival, Alberta, Canada
● Futur en Seine, Cap Digital, Paris

● Compétitions and Prix, Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia,
● Fondation Lagardère,

● Bains numériques Centre des Arts d’Enghien (France)...
● Academic juries: Agregation, CAPES, PhD defences…

Expertise, research grant committees
● Expert ANR (Fr. National Research Agency) in Information and Communication Technologies
● Expert AERES (Agence d’Expertise de la Recherche) for universities and research assessment
● European Commission Expert IST Program (Information Society Technology)

● CST Member (Commission Supérieure Technique du Cinéma, since 1992)

● New Images Commission, Member, Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (SCAM after 1990)
● ISEA 2000 co-organiser (Paris) International Society for Electronic Arts

Committees (2012 – until now)
City University of Hong Kong - Committees
● Research Committee, nominated Member, starting Sept 2019.
● HKPFS reviewer, 2017, nomination for 2019.
● Appeal committee, Appeal Committee for Redundancy Cases (ACRC), Human Resources Office, 2081.01.01-2019.12-31 (TBC)
● Board of Graduate Studies Ex Officio –
● Chair of SCM Graduate Studies Committee University Active participation, support of SCM specific situation in terms of PhD recruitment. (until 2018)
● Human Subject Ethics Sub-Committee Member University Active participation
● Academic Conduct Committee Member University Active participation
● School Board of SCM Ex Officio - FT academic staff of School College/School Active participation, Reporting PhD coordination
● University Committee for Appointment, Personnel and Promotion Reviews for Associate Professors Members - 1-3 Chair Professors/Professors University No case this year (until 2018)
● Committee on Research Degree (CRDC) member (until 2018),
● Staff-Postgraduate Student Consultative Committee member, School, Active participation
● PhD Programme coordinator, renovation of the PhD reporting process, active actions on PhD recruitment (11 new PhD students in 2015-2016 (i.e. 50% increase of SCM intake.
● PhD programme Coordinator
● JUPAS Application Review Reviewer School Portfolio and application review
● Project Flame Management Committee Member (until 2016).
● ACIM, Scientific Board Member

● RAE assessment Committee Member, UGC, Visual art, 2018-2020
● ACMMM, ACM Multimedia, Chair of the Art Show, Nice, Oct. 2019
● ISCMA, Art Machines, International Symposium on Computational Media Art, Symposium Committee Member.
● ACM Siggraph Asia, Macau, 2016, Art Show Committee,
● CAC6, 2018, Computer Art Congress, Steering Committee
● CAC5, 2016, Computer Art Congress, Scientific Committee
● EuroplA 14: 14th International conference on advances in design sciences and technology Member of the International Scientific committee Contribution to the definition of the conference programme
● VRIC 2015 Virtual Reality International Conference reviewer Review of submitted papers
● ACM Siggraph France Member permanent advisory member.
● Extended Arts Conference 2015 (XARTS2015), held at the University of Aegean, Syros, Greece, July 2015 Member of the Scientific Committee Programme definition, content advisor
● ISEA2016 International Symposium on Electronic Arts, Hong Kong. Chair of special events. Active Contributor and Member of Scientific Advisory Board. Developing the Advisory board with international institutions (Berkeley, Cornell, McLuhan Center Toronto, Université Paris 8, Université Pantheon Sorbonne, Ars Electronica Festival and Futur Lab, Goldsmith College, University of Naples, University of Texas Dallas, University of Western Australia, Symbiotica, HKBU, National School of Fine Arts Paris, CAFA Beijing, Danube University…) Creation of 2 specific art programmes based on international calls.
● HK ACT ! Festival (2016) Mentor, consultant for project definition.
● Head of H2H Lab, lab and cultural institutions cluster.
● Museum of Design, Innovation, Leadership & Art, MODILA Curatorial Council member, Cape Town, South Africa

Public institutions Hong Kong
● HK Tourism Board Member of HK Pulse programme Consultancy on aesthetic and technical issues (
● HKADC Advisor on 5th Urban Media Art Exhibition Redefinition of the scope, title, active contribution with the Open Sky Project
● Sun Hung Kai ICC media façade Advisor and curator of the Open Sky project Creation and definition of the Open Sky Project, technical and aesthetic recommendations, creation of a dedicated website and a video simulator for future projects, curator of the artistic content on the building.

Curatorial activity
● On The Road 2017-2018, Young Media Artists in China, Appointed Curator, media art exhibition (40 installations, 36 artists), City University of Hong partner with Guan Shanyue Museum, Chongqing, 2019.
● On The Road 2017-2018, Young Media Artists in China, Chief Curator, media art exhibition (40 installations, 36 artists), City University of Hong Galleries, partner with Guan Shanyue Museum, Shenzhen, CityU HK, March. 2018.
● ACMMM (ACM Multimedia 2019), Chair of the Art Show, Nice, France,
● On The Road 2017, Young Media Artists in China, Appointed Curator, media art exhibition, Guan Shanyue Museum, Shenzhen, CityU HK, Shanghai, Beijing, Oct. 2017.
● ISEA2016, Chair of Special Event international call
● Open Sky Gallery, ICC Tower, Urban Screen permanent exhibition, Hong Kong (2014-2017)
● Jim Campbell’s Experience, (with Jeffrey Shaw) Creative Media Center, Hong Kong, Sept. 2014
● Fleeting Light, the 4th Large Scale Interactive exhibition, (with Jeffrey Shaw) Hong Kong, Sept. 2014
● La Ville, son Modele et l’Artiste, (The CIty, it’s model and the artist) La Bellevilloise, Paris, 14 - 24 January 2010
● [UNCURATABLE (ART] INCURABLE), The Art Collider, San Francisco (SFAI) - Paris - Linz - Cornell U - SVA NYC, 7-16 April 2010
● IN-OUT x.0, Citu, La Bellevilloise, Paris 20e, Ars Longa, Paris 11e, La Maison Populaire de Montreuil, Studio PétaHertz, Montreuil, le Cube, Issy les Moulineaux, L’Autre Canal, Nancy, L’Eesi, Poitiers, 2008
● OUTLAB, Citu, université Paris 8 St Denis, juin 2006
● Intrusions 0-1, Ars Numerica, Montbéliard, décembre 2004
● Beyond the screen, ISEA 2000, chapelle de l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, Paris
Other professional activities
International New Media Artist (detailed list follows)

Short films, video and television director:
● Documentaries, fiction et 3D animation movies (including Quarxs, the very first High Definition 3D Computer Graphics 89-93) (filmography follows)

Exhibition and museum designer:
● Arc de triomphe permanent exhibition inside the Arch, 2008, 1 500 000 visitors/year (details follow)
● Des Grandes Questions à la Décharge, retrospective exhibition, EESI, Poitiers, 2008
● World EXPO 2000 Hanover, Planet of Visions, with François Schuiten, (6 000 sqm up to 30 000 visitors/day)
● Man Transformed, Cité des sciences et de l’industrie de la Villette, (2000)
● Abbaye de Fontevraud, 1999, permanent multimedia exhibition
● New Image New Networks, Cité des sciences et de l’industrie de la Villette, 1997 (800 000 visitors)

"Value of Values" at MOCA Taipei

"Value of Values" at MOCA Taipei, Digital Art Festival, with Tobias Klein and Nicolas Mendoza, Oct. 25 - Nov. 10.

MoBen Chair of ACM MM Art Show

co-chaired with Nathalie Delprat. Acropolis, Nice, France

Transactional Poetry on Values

with Tobias Klein and Nicolas Mendoza, the first public presentation of the Transactional Poetry resulting from real-time trading of values on the "Value of Values" Blockchain platform (

Value of Values, in BAUHAUS100 exhibition, Palazzo Buonaccorsi, Macerata Italy

"Value of Values", M. Benayoun, T. Klein, N. Mendoza, in BAUHAUS100 exhibition, Palazzo Buonaccorsi, Macerata Italy, Jul. 18- Nov. 2019

Exhibitions & Events