Created as a site-specific installation for Surrey Art Gallery’s offsite venue UrbanScreen, Rencontres Imaginaires is a series of interactive behavioural video works. Onsite viewers are invited to insert themselves into the frame to engage in imaginary encounters with “virtual friends” in real-time through a large-scale projection and interactive kiosk. The pre-recorded videos of virtual friends prompt the viewer to react to their gestures. Referencing and recalling the first tricks of early cinema by filmmakers like Georges Méliès over a hundred years ago, this artwork uses techniques of illusion to encourage play in public space.
Originating from the Rhône-Alpes region of France, Grégory Lasserre and Anaïs met den Ancxt collaborate under the name Scenocosme. During a residency at the gallery, Scenocosme created new video works, inviting local residents to participate in filming sessions to become virtual friends—creating hand and face behaviours for interaction at UrbanScreen.
An online publication about Rencontres Imaginaires, with essay “Screen Tearing: Imaginary Encounters in the Real World” written by curatorial researcher Rhys Edwards, is available on Surrey Art Gallery’s website. Click here to access.
Surrey Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges Creative BC, the Province of BC through the BC Arts Council, and French Consulate Vancouver/Consulat général de France à Vancouver for their support of this project.
Note: art is projected after dark.