Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs


Early days in France

fmx/09 Stuttgart, May 8, 2009


Maurice Benayoun

Z-A Story : the Quarxs, God and the Devil

In 1987, we, architects and artist, decided to create a company to produce computer graphics. In 91, the pilote of the series Quarxs was awarded at Siggraph Las Vegas. Mixing comic books and realistic computer graphics, it became the first CG series with an original scenario made in Hi Definition. Limited to 12 episodes, the series was widely broadcast around the world. Beside 3D CG animation and special effects, Z-A started to explore the creative potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality, creating its own tools (SAS CUBE, the first PC based immersive room), Virtual Tunnels, innovative interfaces, through art installation and exhibition design. Ending in 2003, Z-A spent 15 years contributing to write the history of 3D animation and interactive design.

Maurice Benayoun digs a Tunnel under the Atlantic, charts the first map of the world’s emotions then sells these emotions as musical cocktails. He offers the only acceptable explanation of the imperfection of the World (Quarxs), launches a photo safari in the land of war (World Skin), dares to ask the Big Questions: is God flat ? and the Devil curved ?. He shares his retina with everybody (Art Impact) and unveils the existence of Big Brother’s sister (Watch Out!). To take a break, he creates the biggest interactive exhibition on Earth (Cosmopolis), reshapes Europe’s biggest abbey with pixels, warns us about the dangers of communication rafting,

co-creates a pioneer CG company (Z-A) ignoring what does “business model” means, defends “infra-realism” and “critical fusion”, converts Shanghais into QR codes (NeORIZON), reconfigures a major Paris subway station and converts the Arc de Triomphe into a monument to Peace. Beside, he pretend to define the future of art, daily dumps all new concepts and upholds in La Sorbonne that a blog can be a thesis (

Archive Z-A Website

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More information (in French) on the Wiki about French Computer Graphics history

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photo credit: Reiner Pfisterer