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Public Art Foundation Debuts Groundbreaking Architectural Mapping Project by Oyoram, in Downtown Des Moines (DSM)

October 11, 2018

Des Moines, IA — The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation proudly introduces a temporary, site-specific, public art project called “Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights.” Created in 2018 by internationally recognized artist Oyoram (aka Yorame Mevorach), this public art project launches a new art form in Iowa. The artist uses 3D video mapping technology to push visual boundaries. Constructed and animated images colorfully and dramatically transform the (72 x 164 ft) facade of a building in downtown Des Moines.

Intricately choreographed and produced, “Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights” will be presented at 8 PM, Sunday evening, 14 October 2018 and once more at 9 PM on Tuesday evening, 16 October 2018. Admission is free for both public events.

The October 16 presentation of “Mental Banquet” coincides with the United Nations’ annual celebration of “World Food Day.”

The site is the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates on the west bank of the Des Moines River at 100 Locust Street in downtown Des Moines (see “About the Site”.) The project can be viewed from any area with an unobstructed view of the east exterior face of the building.

The process of mapping architecture goes further than a simple projection of content matching the size of the building structure. It is about capturing the space, the architecture details, and the ambiance that emerges from the location. This groundbreaking spectacle, “Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights,” engages the public with an expression of rhythm and form that reveal a story bit by bit. The building historical function as a library and cultural center melds into a new vision of honoring individual advancements in improving the global food supply. The experience will be recalled in the mind of the viewer—a thrilling visionary feast between real architecture and a virtual tale.

“A charismatic presence in avant-garde film and video,Oyoram is well known for his off- screen digital projections,” said M. Jessica Rowe, director of Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation. “The project is a standout, reflecting the artist’s interest in complex systems of aesthetics, architecture and technology.”

“This is a new kind of public art gaining recognition and its big audience success around the world testifies to contemporary endeavors that can enliven our city,” commented Susan Fitzsimmons, vice president of the Public Art Foundation Board of Directors and Ruan Vice President and General Counsel. “This extraordinary work of art allows us to explore the creative potential of digital technologies.”

“We fully support all efforts to realize this innovative public art project as a means to nurture a sense of citizen pride in our community,” added Tim Hickman, president of the Public Art Foundation Board of Directors. “Such public and private collaborations move us closer to our goal of becoming a world-class destination for public art.”


This temporary, site-specific, public art project, “Mental Banquet: Painting with Lights,” was created by Oyoram. The music score was in collaboration with Jack Gallup and Melvin Veach. Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation organized and funded the October 14 and 16, 2018 presentation, with in-kind support from CLE Productions, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Inc., and The World Food Prize Foundation for its access to the east facade of Hall of Laureates.


Designed in 1899 by Architects Smith & Gutterson as the main branch of Des Moines Public Library, this restored Beaux-Arts style building is today known as The World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. The ornamented facade includes classical details and sculptural enrichments, such as symmetrical arched and pedimented doors, columns and windows. The building was built in 1900-03 as part of a plan to develop the riverfront in Des Moines. It is located at 100 Locust Street, along the Principal Riverwalk between Walnut and Locust Streets in the heart of the city.


About 17,000 years ago, a few highly skilled ‘homo sapien’ artists were doing what I am trying to do today: tell a story by painting and engraving on stone walls. The art was discovered in 1940, in the cave Lascaux in Dordogne, a region in southwest France. After Picasso visited the cave in the 1950’s, he reportedly emerged and exclaimed: “We have invented nothing.” Miro? once said, “Painting has been in a state of decadence since the age of caves.”

But I have been intrigued by more than the value of cave paintings. These were drawn about 14,000 years before the invention of writing! What a long learning process to transform visual drawings into symbols - letters - words and sentences with meaning.

Observing our way of life today, at first I was worried: we are reading less and less, we are using icons, short messages and bird sounds to communicate. We no longer use our pen and even our purchases are signed with a finger. On second thought and maybe third, I changed my mind. Maybe we are not regressing...maybe we are in a process of elaborating a new language that will include literal and pictorial fragments; a universal language of the mind transcends countries and cultural borders.

Today the cave’s stone has become a building and I am drawing visual poetry using light rays on its facade that, similar to a human face, has a lot to reveal. 

— Oyoram


Paris-based artist Oyoram (aka Yorame Mevorach) founded his company Cine Tfoo- Films Hors Ecran in 1993, renamed Films Hors Ecran/Off-Screen Motion Pictures in 2003, inventing a new visual landscape by replacing conventional media screens with objects. Since 2007, when he imagined into creation “virtual windows” in the famous rotunda Dior Avenue Montaigne, Oyoram has designed monumental visual moving fresques for Dior, one of the world’s top fashion houses.

Born in Jerusalem, Oyoram moved to Paris in 1980 after graduating from Beit Zvi School of Film and the Performing Arts and attended Universite? Sorbonne Nouvelle. By 1984, he had established his reputation as producer and director with the legendary satirical French magazine, Hara Kiri/Charlie Hebdo and created the first original fiction made for the emergent video-cassettes market in France (a box office success). As an activist artist, the young Oyoram collaborated on programs for the early “Free Television” experiments in Paris. This was followed by writing and directing short films co-produced and broadcast on European television.

Oyoram’s visual inventions have included small eye-glass lenses used to reveal the wearer’s subjective viewpoint to a 15 meter high clock, a spectacular metaphor dramatizing time as a circus ring. A designer, script-writer, and director, Oyoram experiments with immersive cinematic experiences as in the 2003 traveling exhibit Diamonds and the Power of Love shown in Tokyo, Las Vegas and Paris, featuring 11 mannequins brought to life by the magic of image-projection. In Retrophobies, a composition of 26 films simultaneously playing on large screens, Oyoram fused art and technology to invent “Vunettes” for an individual audio-visual experience in a public space. He also pioneered the seamless mix of painted canvas and moving images in Double You See, exhibition shown in 2006-2007 in Paris and Hamburg, Germany.

Pierre-Henri Deleau, co-founder "la Quinzaine des Re?alisateurs" at the Cannes Festival, said that Oyoram’s art, “leaves open the question as to whether he is a poet making films or a filmmaker making poetry.” His visual art work has been commissioned by Cartier, Van Cliff & Arpel, Sony, and Louis Vuitton, among other prestigious collectors.

Oyoram is married to Katya Gibel Mevorach, Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at Grinnell College in Iowa. Traveling together between Iowa and France has accommodated their two vocations.


The Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, established in 2004, recognizes that art belongs not just in galleries and museums, but in streetscapes, parks, buildings and infrastructures of a thriving community. Dedicated to envisioning, developing, advancing and promoting public art projects, the Public Art Foundation collaborates with local entities and artists to engage, inspire and enrich the lives of residents and visitors to the community. The goal is to increase awareness of our community as a world-class destination for public art. For more information about the Public Art Foundation, visit www.dsmpublicartfoundation.org. #dsmpublicart

Photo: Courtesy of Oyoram Visual Artist