Luc Courchesne

Portrait One


Werk - Portrait One
Artist / Artist group
Luc Courchesne
Portrait One
Material / Technique
Computer column, porch, monitor, LaserDisc player, two speakers, semi-transparent mirror, computer (Macintosh SE/30, operating system: OS9), custom software, track pad
Dimensions / Duration
245 x 305 x 67 cm
ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Marie, the woman on the video monitor, first registers visitors when they address her. When someone clicks the text box »Excusez-moi…« [French for “Excuse me…”], she is activated. Visitors can engage in conversation with the woman represented using the range of questions provided. The original version of Luc Courchense’s installation is in French, and subtitles are available in English, German, Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.

In the installation, a video monitor is built into a kind of metal archway. The monitor is reflected in a translucent mirror and fuses with the image on a second monitor behind the mirror. As a result, the figure on the screen appears to hover in the air before visitors. The installation lends the image a depth also present in holograms, animating Marie with an artificial vitality.

“It is true that I am unreachable—and that you cannot change me. But look at the people around you: Are they so different from me? Are they reachable?“

Marie confronts the visitor with these and similar questions. Even if the dialogue seems to lead on seamlessly from the questions chosen, the artist has in fact predetermined the conversation, as Marie can only respond with set phrases.

The real protagonist of this installation is the observer, not Marie. Without their actions, the installation would remain on standby. Hence, visitors are subsumed in the piece’s digital system.

Author: Hanna Jurisch

About the artist/s