I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, where my only arms against
Apartheid were satire and caricature.
I studied Architecture and Urban Design at the Technion, in Haifa, Israel, earning a BSc degree, cum laudé, in 1981. I was awarded the annual Sigmund Brawerman prize for my final project, about urban rehabilitation in Jerusalem. During my studies I was artistic director of the student newspaper, "Epsilon". A premonitory caricature showed a settler in the occupied territories sowing the land with grenades. A student project with Sylvie Rabie developed experimental photographic work, under the direction of Professor Paul Hoenich. I left Israel when Ariel Sharon offered me a role in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
From 1982 to 1989 I worked in various architectural offices in Israel, Austria and France. My employers included: David Reznick in Jerusalem, in whose office I worked on the local Mormon University; Ram Carmi in Tel Aviv, who taught me that megalomania in urban design can be pursued with delicacy; Othmar Barth in Innsbruck for a commercial centre in harmony with the surrounding Dolomites; Roland Simounet in Paris, architect of the Picasso Museum, for whom designing using Le Corbusier's Modulor was an essential part of the project brief; François Rodier, on a series of housing projects in and around Paris...
During 1989 I did training in "communication and 3D graphics for architects" at the INA (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel / computer graphics department). In parallel, I did a year of research in the CIMA (Centre d'Informatique et Méthodolgie en Architecture) computing and architecture laboratory, where I developed a programme for the 3D representation of urban codes called the "Town Simulator". I was invited to present this work at a conference on urban representation at Queen's College in Cambridge.
In 1990 I created an urban design office in Toulouse called Numéropolis, developing a specialisation in the archetypes of urban representation and expertise in the quirks of small village mayors. The company worked on projects at different levels of local government, and for semi-public development agencies. Our clients included the Toulouse Municipality.
In 1992 I developed the "Perspektikone", an application using QuickTime to interactively visit an unbuilt urban project. I was invited to present my urban representation work at the "Imara" section of "Imagina" in Monte Carlo in 1993.
During the same period, the arrival of interactive media encouraged me to explore new professional horizons; I ceased my urban design activity in 1995 with the closing of Numéropolis. With regret - urban phenomena and landscape remain major preoccupations.
From 1993 to 2005 I was the director of a multimedia company, created with my wife, Sylvie, based in Toulouse, called Magelis (http://www.magelis.com), where we explored the paradox that despite having clients in the banking industry who adored us, this did not make our own banker consider our catastrophic cash flow problems with humanity. This finally got the better of the company, which was liquidated at the beginning of 2005.
We did build up a large client base in both the private and public sector, including the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Centre for Space Studies (French equivalent of the NASA), different local development agencies, medium and small companies, etc. The projects we worked on went from outer space, dealing with satellite measurement of the ocean surface, to below ground, for the local municipal undertakers. This allowed us to satisfy our curiosity through projects touching a vast range of subjects, whether culturel - from music festivals to a sculptural bronze foundry - industrial - via the pork industry - or social - from sustainable development, health mutual funds, to a programme to combat racism in the work place. We built up expertise in the paradigms of content representation and interactive scenarisation.
The company constantly experimented alternative work methodologies and tried to develop collegial methods of creative collaboration in the work team. This benefited the quality of our production, but at the price of productivity, and this in all likelihood contained the seeds for our downfall...
In 1992 with Sylvie Rabie and Ivan Roux I created an interactive cartoon strip that was awarded a silver "Faust" in Toulouse, was exhibited by the Apple Studio at "Imagina" in 1993, and won a "Noteworthy" mention in the 1994 "New Voices, New Visions" competition organised by the (much regretted) Voyager Company, Wired, and Interval Research. It was exhibited at the New York Film Festival and the University of Stanford.
In 1997 I created the "Iceland Sundaes" web site (http://www.magelis.com/isundaes), a personal meditation on the relationship between city and network. It was exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) during the "LA Freewaves" Festival in 1998. It contains my "Cybourgia Manifest", an attempt to reconcile my abandoning urban design for the brave new cyberworld that had become my employer.
As a team in Magelis we worked on several projects: a new prototype of the interactive cartoon strip, "Overexposed" (abandoned for lack of funds), a game about the "expropriation" of Internet by the multinationals, "Big Browser" (abandoned for lack of funds), and "Little Bonhommes Land", around the mascot characters of the company.
Since 2000 I have been working on interactive photography, dealing with both inhabited and nutural landscapes, expressed via an ongoing work called "Landscopes". Several pictures from "Landscopes" were selected for the "EcoPoetics Online Digital Art Exhibition" that was part of the "Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival" in Ithaca, New York, in March-April 2006, and for the "Contemporary Mathematical Photography and New Media" exhibition at the James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia in October-November 2006.
In 2002 I was invited by Le Cube multimedia centre in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Paris) and the Art3000 Association (a pioneer in French net art), to make an outdoor, photographic, sound-driven installation, called the "Collido_scope" for the "1er Contact" Festival, that took place in October. This work was exhibited in February-March 2004 in the "Traverses-Video" Festival in Toulouse, and in August 2007, in the "Global Eyes" art gallery during the Siggraph Conference in San Diego. Between 2007 and 2009, this work will be shown in the "Siggraph Travelling Art Show".
In 2002 I started working on interactive demos (protests, not software). The first, "Enfants d'Immigrés" (http://www.enfants-dimmigres.org) created with the Magelis team was the web counterpoint to the massive demonstrations against the Extreme Right during the French presidential elections. The site was presented in the newspapers Libération, Le Monde, and Le Soir de Belgique. The "Over My Dead Body" project (http://www.overmydeadbody.org), a world wide online demo dealing with alterglobalisation, the environment, neoliberalism, the war in Iraq, was launched in November 2002. It was chosen for exhibit in the Nonetart Festival in Rosaria, Argentina in 2003, and for the Wigged Productions online exhibition Globalization. My anti(Iraq) war posters have been exhibited at a group exhibiton at Columbia University, New York, and were also shown at the big group exhibition at the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India in January 2004. They were published in "Peace Signs - the anti-war movement illustrated" by James Mann.
I have recently finished an interactive photographical contemplation of the Dachau concentration camp, called "The Prototype". This work was exhibited in March 2006 in the "Traverses-Video" Festival in Toulouse.
I am currently working on an interactive photography work called "Brèche-Brecha", a cross-frontier (France-Spain) commission by Espacio Infoculture that is a study of the Pyrenees Mountains, exploring the geographical and cultural differences between the French region of Midi-Pyrénées, and the Spanish province of Aragon.
During the recent French referendum for the proposed European constitution I created and webmastered the site for the "Alternative en Midi-Pyrénées" (http://www.alternative-mip.org).