Frances Hegarty - Auto Portrait #3 - 2000
x2 synchronised video sources, x2 colour video projections, custom screens 1200 x 1200mm.
Video cycle: 4m 08s
Auto Portrait #3 is based on a single action for camera: a formal video portrait, for which Hegarty posed having first taken sleeping pills. Footage of this sitting is digitally manipulated in order to create the twin personas of the work.
Two suspended screens show the artist's head and shoulders. Each image is a clone of the other, although one is mirrored on a vertical axis, and temporally reversed. Gradually, as though tired of maintaining eye contact with the camera, one "twin" falls precipitously into sleep, colour draining from her face. Over four minutes of artificially accelerated time the sleeping face acquires a mask-like rigor, but as this happens, the mirrored twin revives, once again meeting the viewer's gaze. The pair continually share their vitality like this, caught in an oscillation between the look of life and the look of death, as though drawing on pool of energy sufficient to maintain only one consciousness.
Auto Portrait #3 was originally shown as a night-time projection in the ground-floor windows of Arthouse, in Dublin city centre.