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Inside Sarah Meyohas’ Cloud of Petals

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Sarah Meyohas, Bell Vitrines, 2017. Photography by Lance Brewer. Courtesy Red Bull Arts, New York

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

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Sarah Meyohas, Most Beautiful Petals, 2017. Photography by Lance Brewer. Courtesy Red Bull Arts, New York

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

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Reagan Brown © Aperture Foundation

On December 4, 2017, Aperture Members at the Connect level and above met with New York–based artist Sarah Meyohas for a special tour of her first large-scale exhibition and virtual reality experience, Cloud of Petals, at Red Bull Arts New York. The exhibition is the culmination of an extensive yearlong project, which employs both defunct equipment and the latest technology to question ideals of beauty.

The tour began with a 16 mm film, in which workers at Eero Saarinen’s Bell Works in Holmdel, New Jersey, choose the most beautiful petal from individual roses, and create images of them. The 100,000 rose petals collected and imaged then became a data set fed to an artificial intelligence algorithm capable of creating infinite new petals.

After the film, Meyohas spoke with Aperture Members in front of an archival grid of 3,289 petals. She discussed the project’s evolution, the film’s production, and how she discovered Bell Works, former site of the venerable Bell Labs, where, among breakthroughs such as satellites and lasers, information theory was born.

Meyohas then led Members to four glowing boxes salvaged from discarded wall paneling and wiring from the Bell Works switchboards. The tour culminated with Aperture Members trying on the six virtual reality headsets, which allow the viewer to interact with AI-generated rose petals floating through the digital void.

Multimedia artist Sarah Meyohas (French-American, born 1991) uses networks of information, power, value, and communication in her work. Recent projects include creating the cryptocurrency Bitchcoin in 2015, and in 2016, trading stocks while stationed at 303 Gallery. Meyohas has been featured in the New York TimesTimeWiredViceFortuneArtspace, and the Atlantic, and she has appeared on CNBC, PBS, and CBC. Meyohas holds a BA in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania, a BS in finance from the Wharton School, and an MFA from Yale University.

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Aperture Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that relies on the generosity of individuals for support of its publications, exhibitions, and public and educational programming.

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