Mirroring the Invisible: Introducing {Orsay Code}

A glimpse inside {Orsay Code}, the recently announced collaboration between Musée d’Orsay and musician/artist Agoria in partnership with the Tezos Foundation.

By Stu Elmes


850 words, 5 minute read

Agoria Et Johan Lescure A Orsay

Sébastien Levaud (aka Agoria) is an internationally renowned musician and artist known for pushing the boundaries of every medium he works with. Now, at the invitation of the Musée d’Orsay in partnership with the Tezos Foundation, Agoria is bringing his considerable talents to bear on the Musée d’Orsay itself, its architecture, and its stunning collection of masterpieces in a new exhibition entitled “{Orsay Code}”.

As part of its ongoing effort to explore the connection between the unique artistic universe emerging in the dynamic world of Web 3.0 and its collections, Musée d’Orsay has teamed up with Agoria — one of the most active artists in the emerging Web 3.0 world — on this audacious project, a partnership the Museum’s President believes will attract new audiences to one of Europe’s most storied artistic institutions.

“The Musée d’Orsay loves to set its treasures from the age of modernity from the second half of the 19th century and the start of the 20th century in communication with modern-day innovations. By re-imagining our collections through contemporary knowledge and tools, Agoria’s creations breathe new life into our works and open our eyes to new possibilities, and will, I hope lead new audiences to visit us and our most loyal visitors to rediscover our museum.”

Christophe Leribault, President of the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie

{Orsay Code} (or “{Le Code d’Orsay}”, as it’s known to our French friends) will run from February 13th to March 10th, 2024, and will feature 2 new impressive digital works at the museum that resonate with the collections contained within.

The first, “Σ Lumina”, has a highly poetic, participative, and experimental dimension, and was created using what Agoria calls “Generative Biological Art” powered by the Tezos blockchain.

Agoria and Johan Lescure, {Σ LUMINA} Photo © Cédric Corroy

The second, also created using Agoria’s Generative Biological Art and the Tezos blockchain, is entitled “Interpretation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae of The Painter’s Studio by Gustave Courbet” and closely links the respective worlds of art and science. This connection is at the heart of Agoria’s approach, wishing to show that the cryptic and digital worlds are inseparable from the physical and living worlds.

“I try to connect the physical with the digital, the living with the cryptic. Although digital and physical are often in opposition, I try to reverse this relationship and reconcile them. With Sigma Lumina and with the biological reading of Courbet, my aim is to make the digital more sensitive and create a link between tangible and intangible, to mirror the invisible. I call this practice Biological Generative Art. I am both delighted and honored that my work resonates in a venue as iconic as the Musée d’Orsay.”


{Orsay Code} will additionally feature a conference during which Agoria will share his thoughts on the museum, the role of the living world in his creations, and the special connection to science in his creative process. The biologists and physicists who co-authored “Interpretation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae of The Painter’s Studio by Gustave Courbet” will also be at this lecture. The conference is scheduled for 7:00 pm on February 22nd and is free to attend with proper registration.

As a final chefs kiss to this outstanding exhibition, Agoria has also created a musical piece in tribute to the Musée d’Orsay, which will be playing at the museum as a preview, beginning February 13th, then revealed in earnest on February 23rd at the artist’s DJ set in the museum’s nave. Tickets for the concert start at 14 €.

{Orsay Code} is the latest project resulting from The Musée d’Orsay’s year-long partnership with the Tezos Foundation, an endeavor that had it genesis in February 2023 when the museum, along with 11 other cultural institutions took part in the training course Web3 for the Arts and Culture (WAC) Fellowship. Technical support from Tezos stalwarts Nomadic Labs and Trilitech, and the network of experts who comprise them, have played a key role in bringing this groundbreaking partnership — and {Orsay Code} itself — to life.

“After the successful launch of the first digital souvenir during the Van Gogh exhibition, this second blockchain project from the Musée d’Orsay continues to bring web3 further into the heart of the museum. Artistic innovation is at the core of the Tezos Art Community and {Σ LUMINA} by Agoria and Johan Lescure is a testament to the boundless possibilities when art and technology come together. In this work, technology facilitates dialogues between 19th and 21st-century art, sparks new interactions between art and museum visitors, and provides new ownership and collecting experiences.”

Sunil Singhvi, Head of Arts & Culture at Trilitech, Adoption hub for the Tezos Blockchain

{Orsay Code} will be revealed to the world on February 13th, 2024, at the Musée d’Orsay and will run until March 10th. If you’re a fan of Tezos, art, music, NFTs, or visiting Paris, this is an event I would not want to miss!