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Portrait One

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“Portrait One (1990) by Luc Courchesne is a fictional work and a framed encounter with a character. But unlike other interactive works, it is not a narrative piece, as multi layered as it may be. It is structured so that the viewer can converse with Marie. (…) To experience Portrait One, is, simply put, to encounter Marie.” (1)


“I use hypermedia to make portraits. A portrait of someone is an account of an encounter between the author and the subject. Painted portraits were made over long periods of time and therefore are more conceptual than photographic portraits. They encapsulate in one single image hours of interaction between the model and the painter. Photography, on the other hand, makes realistic portraits. The talent of the portrait photographer is to wait and pick the right moment – the moment when the person expresses the density of his or her being; the subject and the photographer wait for the magic moment in complicity. In my portraits, the entire encounter is recorded, and material is extracted to construct a mechanics of interaction that will allow visitors to conduct their own interviews. As this happens over time, the conversations will evolved toward more intimate considerations.” (2)


Portrait One was shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from September 20 to December 9, 2007, for the exhibition e-art: New Technologies and Contemporary Art, Ten Years of Accomplishments by the Daniel Langlois Foundation.




Source :


(1) Jean Gagnon, excerpt from “Blind Date in Cyberspace or the Figure that Speaks” [Text originally published in Artintact 2 : CD-ROMagazin interaktiver Kunst = Artists’ interactive CD-ROMagazine (Karlsruhe : ZKM/Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe; Ostfilden : Cantz Verlag, 1995).]

(2) Luc Courchesne “Family Portrait : The Art of Portraiture,” Luc Courchesne : Interactive Portraits (Ottawa : National Gallery of Canada, 1994) : 3.