Interactive video installation for computer with touchpad, laserdisc player and video monitor. Original version in French; the English, German, Italian, Dutch and Japanese versions are subtitled.
Marie, a French-speaking Montrealer in her thirties played by actress Paule Ducharme, appears to be lost in reverie. You may try to get her attention: when selecting "Excuse me..." on the display, Marie suddenly stares at you; then, selecting "Do you have the time?", "Are you staring at me?" or simply "May I ask you something?" starts a conversation that will develop according to visitor's curiosity or Marie's moods. The encounter may be cut short due to a lack of tact or interest, or it may develop into intimate considerations about love in the context of a virtual relationship. The conversation may be conducted in French, English, German, Italian, Dutch or Japanese. In all languages except for French, Marie's answers are subtitled.
Portrait One explores portraiture in the age of hypermedia and virtual reality. After the painted portrait synthesizing the author/model experience into a single image, and after the photographic portrait capturing the instant, the hypermedia portrait looks at the subject to capture, this time, fragments of behavior that will be used to reconstruct the mechanics of conversation. In hypermedia portraits, the visitor's point of view and attitude becomes an intrinsic part of the work as the encounter between the artist and the subject is re-enacted.
The installation requires a Macintosh computer equipped with a serial port (originally a Macintosh SE/30), a touchpad, a Pioneer LD-V 8000 laserdisc player, a 27" video monitor and a pair of amplified speakers. The monitor is encased facing down in an arch-like structure above a pedestal housing the computer/touchpad. The pedestal is also use to position the glass reflecting plate at 45° directly underneath the video monitor. The authoring/delivery software was developed on HyperCard and can be played on MacOS 6.8 or later (but before OSX). The NTSC video sequences totaling 30 minutes are stored on a single CAV laserdisc.
Visitors use a touchpad to move the cursor about the computer screen and select questions from imposed lists. The questions are HyperCard buttons sending commands to the laserdisc player via the computer's serial port. Video sequences from the laserdisc are displayed on a monitor facing down above a tilted glass plate positioned at eyelevel. The viewer looking into the glass plate sees a reflection of the video image (virtual image plane) through which the text (set of questions) from the computer screen is visible. The characters have been recorded on a black background; once reflected on glass, the video image thus looses it's edge and the characters appear as ghosts inhabiting the real gallery space.
For the CD-ROM, DVD and WEB versions of Portrait One the contents of the computer screen and of the video screen have been merged; the program is cross platform and plays on any standard personal computer. The CD-ROM and DVD versions have been developed in Director and the Web version uses the Shockwave plug-in on any recent browser.
The original version in French; the English, German, Italian, Dutch, Finish and Japanese versions are subtitled.
The installation Portrait One has been created in Montreal between September 1988 and February 1990 with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Credit titles for the original installation version:
Concept, script, direction, programming, design, production: Luc Courchesne
Script, acting: Paule Ducharme
Camera, photography: Jason Levy
Created with support from the Canada Council for the Arts
© Luc COURCHESNE, 1990
Credit titles for the CD-ROM adaptation:
Art direction: Luc Courchesne
Concept, programming: Volker Kuchelmeister
Created with support from the ZKM/Karlsruhe
© Luc COURCHESNE, 1995, 2001
Credit titles for the on-line WEB adaptation:
Art direction, production: Luc Courchesne
Concept, programming: Etienne Desautels
Created with support from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art Science and Technology.
© Luc COURCHESNE, 2001
The original interactive video installation for computer with touchpad, laserdisc player, video monitor and arch was previewed in TED2, Monterrey, CA in February 1990 and officially premiered at PRIM in Montreal in March 1990.
TED2, Monterey, California (February 1990)
PRIM, Montréal, Québec (April 1990)
Center for Art Tapes, Halifax, Nova Scotia (November 1990)
IMEREC, Marseille, France (December 1990)
Cinématheque québécoise, Montréal (February 1991)
Obscure, Québec, Québec (March 1991)
PRIM, Montréal, Québec (May 1991)
Siggraph, Las Vegas, Nevada (July 1991)
Festival du cinéma québecois, Blois, France (October 1991)
D&MS, Franckfort (October 1991)
Centre d'exposition des Gouverneurs, Sorel, Québec (November 1991)
NDES, Chicago, Illinois (February 1992)
TISEA, Sydney, Australia (November 1992)
AIGA, New York, New York (February 1993)
Small Worlds, Gainesville, Florida (March 1993)
MuuMediaFestival, Helsinki, Finland (April 1993)
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (November 1993 - January 1994)
Artifices 3, Paris (November - December 1994)
MultiMediale 4, Karlsruhe (May 1995)
Triennale di Milano, Milan (May - June 1995)
Interaction 95, Gifu, Japan (July 1995)
Foto Biennale Enschede, the Netherlands (September 1995)
World Wide Video Center , La Haie, the Netherlands (December 1995 - January 1996)
Tournée des Maisons de la culture de Montréal (January - December 1996)
Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada (February - March 1996)
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (May - June 1996)
Helmond Museum, the Netherlands (September - October 1996)
ZKM Medienmuseum, Karlsruhe (Permanent exhibition since 1997)
Centre culturel canadien, Paris (January - March 1998)
Avatar, Amsterdam (April - June 1998)
Friches de la Belle-de-Mai, Marseille (August - September 1998)
Musée canadien de la photographie, Ottawa (May - October 1999)
Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (November 1999 - January 2000)
Societé des arts technologiques, Montréal (October-December 2000)
Wood Street Gallery. Pittsburg (January-February 2002)
The CD-ROM adaptation of Portrait One as part of Artintact2 was launched in June 1995 at the Multimediale in Karlsruhe. It has been presented in more than fourty venues since. The DVD adaptation of Portrait One as part of the Artintact Series was published in February 2002.
The on-line WEB adaptation of Portrait One was was launched in March 2001 at the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art Science and Technology [fondation-langlois.org/portrait1.html]
Owners of the work:
There are four copies of the original installation version:
Copy no. 1: collection of the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa);
Copy no. 2: collection of the ZKM/Medienmuseum (Karlsruhe);
Copy no. 3: collection of Joëlle Metzger/Vidéochroniques (Marseilles).
Copy no. 4: collection of the artist.