The LED on my webcam started flashing for no reason. Is it possible that an observer, a hacker, a friend or ghost is currently housed in my webcam? I embark on a series of video-calls to find out what this elusive entity wants with me.
© LLUM, Don Quichotte Films
The green LED on Alice Lenay’s webcam has started to flash. Perhaps a presence is watching her? This is both the initial hypothesis and the ambiguous desire entertained by the filmmaker of Dear Hacker. The inquiry into the identity of the dear hacker will soon be sidelined and slide towards an examination of this desire. To this end, she makes video calls to friends to have conversations that are troubled, halting but enlightening. What is Alice really looking for? What kind of company? The technical questions give way to more sensitive explorations that give rise to beliefs in possessive bugs, and to an encounter with the ghost that one can be to oneself. In these “remote” interactions, am I merely an image or am I still a body? Am I in your room or are you in mine? Can I touch you? Alice’s interlocutors, disillusioned at times but thoroughly connected, persist. Their screens display the excesses of their conversations, rivers of waste like traces of their encounters that only some people can see. What has become of the green LED of their relations? What to let others see of us? What signals to send? If someone always has an eye on us, what would be reassuring would be that someone still cares for us. Sharing her personal message with her accomplices, the filmmaker herself becomes a presence, a hacker roped to others, who awakens their tiny lights. A tender shadow that manipulates her own image and theirs through the discrete control of a filmmaking that commands appearances and unstable encounters.
Alice Lenay is a researcher-artist. She publishes, and creates performances and video installations, often collaboratively, which question our desire to meet others. After studying cinema and philosophy, she presented a PhD creation-research thesis in 2020 on communication with on-screen faces. Dear Hacker is her first film.