Marie, a 34 year old French-speaking Montrealer played by actress Paule Ducharme, appears to be lost in reverie. A visitor may try to get her attention: When clicking a mouse on the display, “Excuse me!”, Marie suddenly stares at you; then, clicking among new choices of questions like “Do you have the time?”, “Are you looking at me?” or simply “May I ask you something?” starts a conversation that will develop according to the visitor’s curiosity and Marie’s moods. The encounter may be cut short because of a lack of tact, or it may develop, among other topics, into intimate discussions of love in the context of a virtual relationship.
The course of the conversation is determined by the visitor’s choice from a set of approximately 300 questions or comments to Marie. The initial choice defines the language of the conversation: French, English or German. In the English and German versions, Marie’s answers are subtitled.
Portrait One is the first in a series of six interactive video portraits using the same hardware and soft-ware configuration: a 30-minute videodisc (Laservision CAV/NTSC), a television monitor, and HyperCard stacks on a Macintosh computer. In the current version of the installation, the ghostline image of Marie is produced by the reflection of the horizontal video screen on a glass plate facing the visitor.
- Luc Courchesne, Canada)