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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Landscape One
Luc Courchesne

In "Landscape One", an interactive spatial installation by Luc Courchesne, the visitor is surrounded by a park, photorealistically represented on a 360-degree projection surface. Virtual visitors to the park move about freely in the landscape. The visitor is invited to communicate using a touch-screen or voice recognition. If this communication is successful, it is possible for the visitor to move forwards in the park in the company of the virtual visitors.

Four walls of a space are "painted", with video projectors, into a single photo-realistic 360° landscape representing a public garden. The space, set in Montreal's Mont-Royal Parc, is visited by real and virtual characters. If the virtual characters appear free to come and go in the garden, real visitors will need help to walk in and explore. For this they have to make contact with one of the virtual characters by selecting, using voice or touch, questions or comments from imposed sets on the computer screens.

Questions on, for example, where they are, what is around, where one can go from here, will engage a conversation leading to some form of relationship. The exchange may be cut short with everyone going back to their business or it may reach a point where visitors will convince a character to lead them some where. In such case, visitors are pulled through the landscape after their virtual guide and the whole room appears to be moving in this direction.

The dialogue between the guide and the visitor or group goes on and defines the progression through space. Because real visitors are using virtual characters to steer their way through space, the nature of the visitor's relationship to the character will define the space-physical or metaphorical-that can be accessed. There are several possible destinations or outcomes. Visitors could simply be abandoned some where on the way if the connection to the characters is broken, or they could reach a destination: a lookout or a forbidden boundary.

This journey through space is also a journey through words, meanings, language, subjectivity. It highlights not only the physical world in which this is happening, but also its diverse meanings and functions to different people. The experience is about communication / discommunication between people with movements through space as a manifestation of its nature; successful forms of communication will offer visitors more varied inroads into more remote places.

"Landscape One" is a multi-user interactive panoramic video installation using 4 networked computers with touch pads and microphones, 4 video projectors and 4 laserdisc players. It was created by Luc Courchesne in Montreal in 1997 with support from the ICC-InterCommunication Center, Tokyo.