Isabelle Bernier©2011

A web artwork by Isabelle Bernier

The website takes the viewer back to the year 1828, when French linguist Champollion, decipherer of the hieroglyphs, finally realizes the dream of his life: to visit Egypt, admire its monuments – including the Great Pyramid of Giza – and acquire some antiques to take back to France. Unfortunately, instead of Giza, Champollion finds himself at Teotihuacan (Mexico)... The website is a humorous, parodic piece on colonialist fantasies, egyptomania and orientalism. It draws attention to the manipulative effects of the repetition of cultural clichés and ready-made ideas, particularly regarding the Arab world. Among various elements, the piece includes two videos; quotations from Edward Said; 19th century engravings from Description of Egypt, the monumental publication born of the Napoleonic invasion of 1798; a self-portrait of Samuel de Champlain shooting at Iroquois; interactive elements emphasizing the colonial basis for classic computer games; etc. WARNING: there is nothing genuinely Egyptian in the site, except the great music by Cairene composer Georges Kazazian.

"Curse of the Great Pyramid (Egyptomania)" is a website in progress, evolving through time. The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts which supported the creation of this artwork through a New Media Grant.

Connect to "Curse of the Great Pyramid (Egyptomania)"


Isabelle Bernier lives in Montreal. Her artwork – mostly web pieces and installations [] – is concerned with the interaction between the private lives of individuals and the socio-political and cultural contexts in which they live. It also has a literary component: the artist writes fictional narratives that are central to most of her pieces. These narratives are often presented in several languages (e.g. Spanish, Mohawk, Mi'kmaq, Arabic, English, San, etc.) that underline the political dimension of the work. In 2005-2006, Isabelle Bernier spent six months in Mexico City, doing an artist residency at the Centro Multimedia of the Centro Nacional de las Artes, which was made possible by a grant from the Quebec Council for the Arts and Literature (CALQ) and the Mexican National Fund for the Arts and Culture (FONCA). In 2006-2007, she was artist-in-residence at Agence TOPO, a Montreal centre specialized in multimedia and web art. In 2008 her work was shown in the Manifestation internationale d’art de Québec. Since 2007, thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, she has devoted most of her time to the Canadian-Egyptian internet art project “RASHID & ROSETTA” that she initiated and organized, and co-curated with Salah D. Hassan. As part of the project she created the web artwork “Curse of the Great Pyramid (Egyptomania)”, available at

For more information about the artist and her work:

Back to top