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digital mask project DĂŠdougou / Paris / Berlin International Mask Festival, DĂŠdougou, Burkina Faso February 24th - March 2nd 2014


Masks in the imagination of the contemporary man The art of mask is the art of creating a character that one can become. This identification, permitted by one or several accessories, is often taking place during a performance combining danse, music and sculpture. The mask culture is universal. In Europe, many traditions including masks are still alive, like the carnival in Venise or Bâle. Likewise, masks holds an important place in contemporary art. The symbolic of the mask varies from one culture to another, from sacred in Africa to satirical in Commedia dell’arte and component of the catharsis in Greek theatre. Therefore what is the place of the mask in the imagination of the contemporary man?


Every two years, the international mask festival FESTIMA is organized in DĂŠdougou, Burkina Faso. This event is the widest gathering of African masks in the world. We want to take advantage of this festival to organize events in Paris, Berlin and DĂŠdougou with the goal of making different cultures meet, from Africa to Europe, from traditional to contemporary. To that end, we have build a digital mask that facilitates the process of creation and diffusion of masks.

Paris / Berlin: the mask in a contemporary context In Paris and Berlin, events will occur allowing traditional African mask culture to meet contemporary art.


In order to give to the public elements about these themes, we will organise: - Projections of videos captured during the FESTIMA about the masks of the festival - Lectures about traditional and contemporary masks - Exhibition of masks from contemporary artists or of art pieces inspired by masks - Performances involving masks Mask creation workshops accessible to everyone (adults and children) will be held in order to enable the public to become actors of the mask culture. The public will draw their masks on paper that will be later scanned and projected on the digital mask. The images will be shared between the 3 cities so that masks created in one city will be projected in the others.

DĂŠdougou: new tools for the mask culture In DĂŠdougou, a workshop accessible to everyone, similar to those of Paris and Berlin, will be organized. At the end of the festival, a jury will choose the best masks and prizes will be distributed. A digital mask will be installed in the festival and will project the masks created in Paris and Berlin during the workshops, thus representing France and Germany at the FESTIMA. Our team will collect traditional masks by taking pictures of them and adapting them to be projected on the digital masks in Paris and Berlin. We will also collect testimonies of the artists through videos in order to capture the context of the masks.

After the FESTIMA : exploring the mask cultures After the FESTIMA, lectures can be planned about the traditional mask culture, it’s place in contemporary art, the safeguard and diffusion of traditional mask cultures or the digital mask project. The digital mask can be exhibited in other locations or lent to groups that would like to use it for artistic experimentation or cultural heritage diffusion.


our project: apply cutting edge technologies to masks The beginings of the Internet have originated a real cultural revolution, multiplying the accessibility to art works. The concept of our mask is to leverage these technologies to document and diffuse the mask culture.

a new way to create masks We have designed and built a digital mask which surface allows the projection of videos : the motives are no longer fixed with painting or carving but animated. This additional dimension allows to experiment mask creation in new ways. During the FESTIMA, our mask will enable to : 1. create new masks in a very simply way and for a low budget 2. create ÂŤdigital copiesÂť of existing masks By enabling to display an infinity of virtual masks on the digital mask, our system can help safeguarding and spreading the mask culture.


creating a mask during a workshop, a 3 steps process ...

1. the participant draws a mask with the help of a guide with the different zones of the mask 2. the drawing is captured via a camera or a scanner, edited on a computer, and sent through the internet to the location where it will be projected 3. the picture received is copied onto the projector’s internal memory and projected on the digital mask


... extended to 3 countries

The above diagram represents the full system to be implemented during the FESTIMA. The masks created during the workshops in Berlin, Paris and DĂŠdougou will be projected in Berlin, Paris and DĂŠdougou.


What is a digital mask? The digital mask is based on the autonomous pico projection technology. Videos recorded in the internal memory of the projector are projected on the mask-screen. As masks cannot be considered without choreography, our mask is built for dance. Our mask is made out of 3 main parts: 1 - an autonomous pico projector (with battery and internal memory) 2 - a light-weight aluminium structure designed for dance 3 - a mask-screen, made out of stretched white fabric to receive the projection

voleurs de jazz (dĂŠtail) acrylique sur toile 1m x 1m30


The FESTIMA: International Festival of Masks and Arts of Dédougou is the largest cultural event dedicated to defending and promoting the traditional culture of African mask. Created in 1996, the 12th edition of FESTIMA will be held from February 24th to March 2nd 2014, it will be devoted to the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The festival shows the living mask cultures of 45 societies, coming from Burkina Faso, Benin, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Mali, Togo and Senegal. Thanks to the dances and parades of the FESTIMA, Dédougou is the main focus point for the diffusion of mask cultures on the African continent. The FESTIMA has experienced a remarkable development over the past twelve years. It helped promoting cultural exchanges between different countries in Africa and Europe. Every 2 years, between 75 000 and 100 000 visitors and more than 850 holders of cultural heritage linked to the mask are taking part to the FESTIMA. The FESTIMA is organized by the Association for the Protection of Masks (ASAMA), a non-profit association, accredited by UNESCO for advisory to the Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Its board includes administrators from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.


for more details about the project, current events and videos of the digital mask, visit the project’s website mask.arnaudiprex.com email: mask@arnaud.iprex.com tel France: +33 659663951 tel Germany: +49 179 6307382 Les Masques Numériques Théo Guerre-Canon 3 Bd Jules peltier 92210 Saint Cloud, France


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