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Matterport helps showcase art destroyed in Beirut Blast

Matterport Capture Technician, oVRlebanon, scans extraordinary art exhibition, unveiling the beauty of art destroyed in the 2020 Beirut Explosion
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On the 4th of August, the tragic explosion that took place in Beirut resulted in huge destruction and damages. One of the things that were partially, if not completely, destroyed is the art pieces, sculptures, and paintings of the well-known artists residing in Beirut or showcasing their artwork in Beirut galleries.

Instead of fixing the damaged art pieces and paintings, a group of art lovers, with the help of the impacted artists, created a new type of exhibition that was born from the destruction of the explosion and named it “L’Art Blessé”, which means “The Wounded Art” by Jean-Louis Mainguy. To preserve the exhibition for all to see across the world, OVRlebanon, a Matterport Capture Technician, was hired to scan the entire space.

We caught up with Elias Haber, Founder & CEO of oVRlebanon, to explore how Matterport is helping showcase L’Art Blessé to people everywhere, allowing them to virtually walk through the exhibit. 


What inspired the 3D capture of "L'Art Blesse"?

The main premise of L'Art Blessé is to find the beauty in the destruction that was caused by the deadly blast that took place on the 4th of August. Many art pieces, paintings and sculptures were irreversibly damaged, along with the Villa that the exhibition is based in. Yet instead of turning away from the damage, a group of art lovers banned together with the artists themselves to create this transformative exhibition led by Jean-Louis Mainguy.

Our main duty is to make it possible for anyone to visit and explore such an exceptional exhibition from anywhere in the world. This is despite the time differences, even during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, via the wonders of virtual reality.

What are the “must-sees” you want visitors to explore and why?

The exhibition’s location is a must for visitors to explore as it is one of the most authentic and famous villas in Beirut, Villa Audi (a 20th-century villa). The beautiful and authentic villa was left as is following the tragic explosion, wounded and destroyed, for the sake of the exhibition.

Additionally, a visitor must-see the new type of art that was born due to destruction. Every “wounded” art piece, no matter how destroyed and imperfect, tells a new and different story.

The museum is massive and contains an abundance of detailed themed exhibits. Was it difficult to capture the building and its educational interactive displays?

I must say, scanning the L'Art Blessé exhibition was a bit challenging. The space is a two floor villa with quite a lot of windows, sunlight areas, low light rooms, and artworks. By touring the villa before proceeding with scanning, we were able to access where every 3D scan should be taken in order to create a seamless walkthrough experience.

What have been the reactions so far of viewers who have experienced the museum?

Anyone who visited this virtual exhibition was amazed by the captured details. The virtual tour is so alive that it made them feel as if they physically stepped inside the Villa. They could even jump from one room to another, take the stairs, zoom in as much as they want to and all of that could be done with a click.

What’s the one thing you want visitors to take away after exploring the exhibits?

No matter the distances and the opening time of the L’Art Blessé physical exhibition, we want everyone to know that they can always visit and explore this exceptional exhibition. Visitors can feel how emotional it is, admire the beauty of the destroyed art pieces, and discover the historical Villa Audi from the comfort of their homes anywhere in the world.

To find out more about how Matterport, visit matterport.com/en-gb.

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