Entering through a door with slight trepidation, you find yourself in a cube-like room—alone in darkness until the gradual, flickering white lights from three screens around you identify someone else’s presence. A man in a hospital gown stands with his back to you and slowly, he peeks at you from over his shoulder. This is Jean-François Mayrand’s Amentia, an interactive art installation now showing in Old Montreal’s newest creative space, the PHI Centre.
Inviting you to explore both your own and his inner madness, your interaction with the on-screen character allows you to be as passive or involved as you please. Both trigger a reaction, with either the actor feeding off your physical motions and the volume of your voice or further pushing his buttons for your lack thereof. His emotions range from anger to sadness to an over-compensating happiness, as evident through his maniacal laughter.
The actor’s face, projected on all three screens, react to which one you pay most attention to, testing his limits and your own. The installation is unique in that each user will have a different experience with the screens surrounding them, even though each one displays the same thing. Combined with dark, foreboding music, the screens interchange between darkness and light. The uncertainty of what you or the actor is going to do next adds to the suspense and feeling that your movements are being watched—which, in a way, they are—since other participants outside the room can follow your personal experience as it is tracked live onscreen as an inkblot representation. Once you leave the exhibit, you can purchase and download your unique image as a souvenir—a lasting reminder of your temporary moment of insanity.
Starting June 1st, 2012 (Wednesday to Friday from 2pm-7pm/ Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm)
FREE ADMISSION - PHI Centre