The Talking Picture is a painting: a framed piece of cloth on the wall, a picture separated from the surroundings, to be looked at from a convenient distance. In the picture there is a woman: the classical subject matter of art in all styles and techniques, the eternal object to be looked at and depicted.
But the work is also a performance: the woman is moving and changing, talking and gesturing. She is before us like a theatre actor, physically present. Only the stage is not present in the spectator’s space, but miles away. The life of the picture comes from elsewhere. So it is like a TV-show or a movie? Partly, yes, but suddenly the woman in the picture turns to the spectator and addresses him or her. There are portraits whose gaze seems to follow you wherever you move in the room; an uneasy feeling of somebody peeping at you. Here it really is true. You look at the eyes of a seeing picture. The woman opens a conversation, reacts and answers to the impulses of the spectator – or participant. The dialogue has no script like in a play, it doesn’t follow a network of programmed choices like in a computer – it evolves from speech act to another, like everyday communication. And even the spectator is not bound by pre-existent rules: he or she can talk, gesture, make contact – or run away. So it is actually just everyday communication, a conversation and not an artwork? Yes, but the conversant is somewhere else and the communication is highly visual. A telephone conversation with pictures, a tele-communication? Partly yes, but here a third party is involved in the dialogue – the manipulator, who works the live image. A manipulated live narrowcast. After all, it is a framed picture, and not reality framed.
- Dancer-choreographer Rea Pihlasviita and photographer Kimmo Koskela have collaborated since 1989 in the field of media art, creating stage performances combining video and slide projections with live dance performance. Their latest creations have visited festivals in France, Germany and Denmark. Together they have also realised dance videos and clips for TV and they have been presented at many international dance video and media art festivals. In 1994 they started a series of telecommunication works.