Inside the Silences of Mosul


Project: Inside the Silences of Mosul

Inside the Silences of Mosul is the use of 3D archive as a tool to reveal and challenge the link between art, creation of knowledge and dominant power in the digital era. Consisting of video sculptures, this project aims at broadening the vision of History and Archiving.

The destruction of world heritage sites and artworks in Mosul, Iraq, in February 2015, sparked a global move to digitize and preserve important works and monuments. By creating 3D archives of these original works and making them available to everyone, a fundamental shift operated which is reshaping our relation towards Art and how we experience it. This process is reshaping where we experience Art, as any scanned object is now available to anyone owning a computer and Internet, regardless of location, wealth or ownership. Moreover, because these 3D files are the visible layers taken invisibly and directly from the initial artwork or monument, they hold the same cultural value as the physical work. Through this digital translation, we are stripping away the market value and the aura of each and every original piece to, instead, put forward the concept and its cultural value. You now can print as many copies of Michelangelo's David, and then destroying them immediately without impacting on the scan.

Moving from the institutional to the digital museum that the computer progressively becomes by the gathering of these 3D files, the question of the cultural value arises. If the museum is the place where artworks rest for eternity as Adorno said 1, the digital one allows to reconsider conceptually and aesthetically these masterpieces by putting them through a 3D program. The malleability of the scans generates a paradigm shift; these cultural objects become materials that can be rethought and reassessed, actualizing how we learned and memorized them. The archive therefore carries a dual function; on one side, when collected, it turns into a digital mausoleum, where its physicality is put in relation with the knowledge we made of it until now. It is approached in the same way as an encyclopaedia2; taking each object as a visual reference part of the whole art historical knowledge. But one the other side, by putting it through a 3D program, it then develops into a conceptually porous substance that allows us to insert new contexts and new ways of seeing. In a sense, it reignites the discussions about the works by introducing a gap with the original, putting it in a liberated and experimental zone.

For my participation , I am interested in working with hologram. In a room where 12 digital prints are hanging on a wall, I want to create 4 pedestals made out of wood in which tablets are inserted, and on them rest Plexiglas cases. The height of the whole pedestal is approximately equal to the visitor's, so that they face directly the case when in front of it. Each tablet would have holographic movie made out of the archives I've gathered and would come to life through a particular setting in the Plexiglas. Some artworks would float and rotate, appearing weightless, for the viewer to contemplate and think of the immateriality of these digital sculptures. Others will transform progressively, going from their original state to exploding, melting or evaporating then, in a loop sequence, return to their original state.


Through this installation, I want to accentuate the digital aspect of the archive and its malleability. By putting these file into a new context, and by creating the illusion of materiality in using holograms in relation to the works on paper, I aim to foster comings and goings between the two mediums so that, in the end, the viewer understands that they are the same. Moreover, because the visitors create a different experience out of each medium, I'd like to emphasize the idea of the digital archive as a possibility to understand and rethink our relation to Art.

1Adorno, Theodore W. "Valery Proust Museum." Prisms. Trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber. London: Spearman, 1967.

2 Glossary of Library Terms. Riverside City College, Digital Library/Learning Resource Center. Retrieved on: November 17, 2007