Combining an artistic eye, some tech-savviness and the help of 49 participants, artist eL Seed has created a digital collage on video chat platform Zoom.
The final work emerged as a digital tapestry of faces against one of eL Seed's signature colourful calligraphic prints. Drawing a quote from French novelist Andre Malraux, the phrase reads: "Art is the shortest path from one man to another and a bridge between nations".
EL Seed, whose studio is based in Dubai, shared the work on his Instagram and highlighted his belief in art’s ability to bring people together. “Through art and technology, 49 people from many different countries and backgrounds were united to share a unique moment of humanity,” he wrote.
The French-Tunisian artist also referenced the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of social distancing on people. "During this difficult time, what I miss the most is the human interactions that I live when I do my art projects. I believe we all have this heightened need for social interaction these days," he said.
To create the digital collage, the artist divided the original calligraphy artwork into 49 sections, which he then sent to participants for them to use as backgrounds in Zoom. During the video call, he acted as, in his own words, a "conductor", synchronising the callers to "shape the final picture". The artist calculatedly brought in participants to the virtual meeting according to their position in the artwork until all the sections aligned. The task took more than an hour to complete.
"Each person was a single instrument playing a solo. Person by person, I could witness the artwork taking shape. I had to trust everyone to do his or her part so we could create the artwork together," el Seed said.
Participants included American musicians Aloe Blacc and Maya Jupiter, Dutch dance group Norah, Yarah, Rosa, all of whom performed during the call.
“There was an undeniable [camaraderie] that was genuinely endearing. The best part of it was not the artwork, it was the ambiance, the energy, and the love everyone shared during the call,” eL Seed said.
According to The Art Newspaper, the artist will sell 49 editions of the original artwork on his website and donate half of the proceeds to two hospitals, one in France and the other in Tunisia.