French-Tunisian artist eLseed creates virtual collage on Zoom

The renowned calligraffiti artist depicted the words of French novelist André Malraux. (Instagram)
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Updated 28 April 2020

French-Tunisian artist eLseed creates virtual collage on Zoom

DUBAI: “Art is a pretext,” wrote French-Tunisian artist eLseed on Instagram, speaking about his first virtual collage that he created on Zoom, the social app, on Monday.

The renowned calligraffiti artist depicted the words of French novelist André Malraux: “Art is the shortest path from one human being to another human being,” on a digital artwork that was divided among 49 participants from around the world.

Each piece was sent to the assigned members, who were told to use it as a virtual background, a function available on Zoom that allows users to change the background against which they appear to an image of their liking, during the call.

To organize the final collage, eLseed allowed people to enter the call according to their position on the artwork.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I always say Art is a pretext. Yesterday night, I was more than ever convinced by this statement. Through Art and technology, 49 people from many different countries and backgrounds were united to share a unique moment of humanity. 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. André Malraux said: ‘Art, is the shortest path from one human being to another human being.’ I depicted the words of the French Novelist in Arabic on an artwork that I divided in 49 pieces. Each piece was sent to a person, all around the world. Then at 1PM EST time, on April 26 2020, everyone logged in with their respective virtual backgrounds. As the conductor, I just had to synchronize the participants, shape the final picture, allowing people to enter the Zoom call according to their position on the artwork. 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. Their part was to be on time, have a good internet connection and a laptop. It was amazing to see each person entering the room and to their surprise, being greeted by people from all over the world whether they knew them or not. There was an undeniable comradery 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. This wouldn’t have been possible without the talented @aloeblacc who performed throughout the call, and the performance of the amazing Dutch dancers @norah_yarah_rosa . For over an hour we were all at the same level, in unison, sharing the same human condition. I didn’t realize what was happening until the call was over and the participants left one by one just as I had added them. Thanks to all of you who were there yesterday and also @tamir_ali_ for being an amazing artistic director , @hatem.jaziri @malikbettaieb @mehdykhmili and @ouahidb @dima_masoud and @bernardo_arnel for being the best team someone could dream of.

A post shared by eL Seed (@elseed) on

The artist likened the artwork to conducting a symphony. “Each person was a single instrument playing a solo,” eLseed wrote to his 133,000 Instagram followers. “Person by person, I could witness the artwork taking shape.”

“It was amazing to see each person entering the room and to their surprise, being greeted by people from all over the world whether they knew them or not,” he added.

The participants spoke for over an hour as they listened to US musician Aloe Blacc perform throughout the call. 

The Dutch dancers Norah, Yarah and Rosa also performed during the meeting.  

“We were all at the same level, in unison, sharing the same human condition,” eLseed wrote. “The best part of it was not the artwork, it was the ambiance, the energy, and the love everyone shared during the call.”


Johnny Depp denies ‘wife-beater’ claim in London libel trial

Updated 14 min 3 sec ago

Johnny Depp denies ‘wife-beater’ claim in London libel trial

  • The high-profile case has laid bare Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s turbulent relationship, which ended in divorce in 2017
  • The couple first met on the set of the 2011 film “The Rum Diary” and married in 2015

LONDON: Hollywood actor Johnny Depp strenuously denied being violent to his ex-wife Amber Heard, as he launched a libel claim in a London court on Tuesday against a British tabloid newspaper that called him a “wife-beater.”
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, 57, is suing the publishers of The Sun and the author of the article for the claims, which were made in April 2018.
Depp, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and facemask, was met by a throng of cameras as he arrived at court while Heard, a 34-year-old actress, used a separate entrance.
The high-profile case has laid bare the couple’s turbulent relationship, which ended in divorce in 2017, just two years after they married.
But Depp said in a witness statement submitted to the court: “For the avoidance of any doubt, I have never abused Ms Heard, or, indeed any other woman, in my life.”
He said it was a “strong and central part” of his moral code that he would never hit a woman, having witnessed domestic violence growing up and vowed never to do so.
“I find it simply inconceivable and it would never happen,” he added.
“She (Heard) is a calculating, diagnosed borderline personality; she is sociopathic; she is a narcissist; and she is completely emotionally dishonest,” he went on.
“I am now convinced that she came into my life to take from me anything worth taking, and then destroy what remained of it.
The couple first met on the set of the 2011 film “The Rum Diary” and married in 2015.
News Group Newspapers (NGN) is contesting the case, and is relying for its defense on 14 separate claims of domestic violence said to have occurred between early 2013 and May 2016.
It argues Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive toward Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs” — and has evidence to prove it.
But Depp said it was the other way round, accusing Heard of violence against him during their “unhappy” time together.
In one alleged incident, he said she repeatedly punched him in the face, and in another severed his finger with a flying vodka bottle and stubbed out a cigarette on his cheek.
Heard has claimed she was physically assaulted over three days in Australia in early 2015 but Depp called the allegations “sick... and completely untrue.”
He rejected claims of being overbearing and instead said Heard had an “obsessive need” to control him, encouraging him to drink and take drugs, despite his well-known addiction issues.
Depp’s lawyers, in a written outline of his case to the court, also argued that although the couple’s relationship was at times “physical,” it was at Heard’s instigation.
Lawyer David Sherborne said his client on occasions had to defend himself from Heard’s violence, calling her allegations “complete lies.”
“He is not a wife-beater and never has been,” he said.
Heard was a “complex individual,” whose behavior was “extremely unpredictable,” with violent rages and prone to extreme mood swings, he added.
She sought attention, was provocative, had affairs, and was on a “wide range” of prescribed medication and other drugs.
Depp loved her but found her behavior “often bewildering” and “very difficult” to understand or deal with, he added.
Depp was the first witness called in the case and under cross-examination admitted using drugs and alcohol from a young age to “numb the pain” of a difficult childhood.
But he rejected suggestions from NGN lawyer Sasha Wass he had a “nasty side,” that saw him turn into a “monster” who would lose control, smash up hotel rooms and assault photographers.
“It wasn’t Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde,” he insisted.
The Sun story — “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beast film?” — came after he had already publicly denied domestic violence.
Depp said he had suffered “significant reputational damage” as a result, both in terms of his career and personally.
The High Court trial is due to last three weeks.