Ars Electronica 1990
Festival-Program 1990
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Festival 1979-2007


The Mandala System

'Vincent John Vincent Vincent John Vincent

At the VIVID EFFECTS GROUP'S new MANDALA SYSTEM installation visitors can "step inside television" and participate in a "virtual world reality" (a simulated, audio / visual dream-like reality over which the user has live interactive control).

The MANDALA SYSTEM technology is a multi-purpose instrument designed to CONTROL COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY FROM A DISTANCE WITHOUT PHYSICALLY TOUCHING ANYTHING. The computer watches the user's movements in an open space through the eye of a video camera. The video signal is then passed through a matrix of software which instantly transposes the user's minor image into the world of computer animation and interactive video, which they view on the television monitors in front of them. In each scene, specific graphics function as triggers for animation and music creation that react upon contact with the user's actual mirror image. With these triggers the user is able to manipulate animation, sound effects and external devices, all live.

When Vincent John Vincent, at the time a student of psychology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, first brought his proposal of a live interactive performance instrument in 1983 to Frank MacDougall, a friend studying computer science, they had no idea that combining their disciplines and years of collaboration would hatch a creation beyond their wildest dreams.

1) Imagine a dungeons-and-dragons-like adventure game, where the players see themselves as they creep cautiously through caverns and must choose from a maze of tunnels and doors, each of which offer a distinct adventure challenge. Choosing the door to the right, the player interactively opens the door with a magical animated key which he holds in his hand. He must avoid a dragon to reach the room beyond, where he must juggle animated objects with an animated wizard.
2) Standing in a MANDALA VIDEO BASEBALL GAME, the player must hold an animated baseball bat and use it to hit oncoming animated baseballs.