Emotion Forecast by Lara Sedbon
At first sight, the spectator feels uncomfortable.
Everything he sees seems familiar. There is a world map with a colorful key – the one we studied in geography books; there are indexes – the same indexes showing the shares of the Stock Exchange that we check every day; there are words describing emotions – daily words we use to define a colleague’s mood for instance. In a nutshell, everything looks familiar. Yet, we cannot help feeling uneasy. Why is it so?
Well, the very combination of these elements is far from being typical in Emotion Forecast. And this is, you will respond, the evidence that we are looking at a piece of art. Art disturbs the norm because the artist is inventing a new perspective, and here, the concept is simple but powerful enough to pose questions. Maurice Benayoun is associating the world’s emotions with the world’s economic health as if our moods implied evolutions of economy and trade while we would usually think the reverse.
Graphically, emotions are translated the way shares are, so that when we are looking at what appears to be visualizations of the evolution of worldwide shares, we are actually looking at the evolution of worldwide feelings. The artist is playing with our habits: besides the relevance of the concept, I would like to focus on the relevance of representation. As long as we naturally associate a representation to a concept, and a shape to a content, we can ask ourselves: is the representation more important than the concept? While inverting the usual way of seeing and implying things, Maurice Benayoun recalls that ideas are valuable and shapes are just containers. He invites us to go inside shapes and take a new look at them, to welcome the idea in the shape following Kant’s categories of representation.
Isn’t Maurice Benayoun using real time to call us back to reality? Indeed, art can also be committed.
Lara Sedbon, born in Paris, is a curatorial assistant and developing partnerships in Paris and Southeast Asia for Streaming Museum. Lara is writing her master dissertation on digital art at EHESS School in Paris. She is also completing her last year at Essec Business School Paris and has a degree in philosophy from the Sorbonne University. Her work experience includes Sotheby’s London, Red Dot Art Fair in Miami, Centre des Arts d’Enghien les Bains digital art center in Paris and Angel Orensanz Foundation in NYC. She writes for the blog “Leaders in Software and Art” in NYC.