Paysage n° 1 (Landscape One)
Landscape One is an interactive video panorama for multiple users consisting of a network of four computers with touchplates, microphones and body detectors, four videodisc players, video projectors, and screens on which video images of Mount-Royal Park in Montréal are projected. The installation was commissioned by the InterCommunication Center, in Tokyo.
Jean Gagnon © 2000 FDL
The visitor, set in the centre of a panoramic landscape, watches the unfolding scenes of a public garden, recorded over a period of 24 hours. There appear events and characters, virtual actors, with whom spectators can communicate if they wish. Although the characters seem free to roam the landscape, the visitor cannot do so without being guided by one of them. First, a character must be contacted, either by voice or by using an on-screen pointer to select from predetermined questions or comments. When visitors ask questions they are drawn into a conversation, a set of which seems to take the form of a friendly relationship. The hook of the game is to try to keep this relationship going, for if the visitors lose contact with the virtual interlocutor, the latter will abandon them.
Luc Courchesne has often spoken of the links between his work and painting, particularly portraiture and landscape. While Landscape One evokes Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (1863), it is also, as were his earlier portraits, an experience in dialogic communication this time between people whose movements through space seem to reveal their personality. His subject is also space and its conquest through human and social relations. As such, this voyage through space is also a voyage through words, meaning, language and subjectivity. The work presents not only a physical world where action takes place, but also enacts its various meanings according to human parameters.
In 1997, Landscape One was awarded the Grand Prize at the first Biennale of Tokyo's NTT InterCommunication Center.