World First As Artists Use Transatlantic Video Link to Perform Together in Virtual Reality

On Sunday April 24, 1994 in Vivid Group’s quiet Toronto-based studio, Canada’s VR leaders gave a Virtual Reality performance that marked a world first in the advancement of international communication technology. Thus began a new era for the telephone, television and interactive entertainment industries.

Vivid Group’s Mandala® System allows a person to step in front of a video camera and have their image transposed into sophisticated computer-generated video worlds. By watching themselves on a television monitor, the person is able to interact and control the computer imagery surrounding them with their own live video image on screen.

Since 1988, Vivid Group has installed over 200 of these systems in location based entertainment centers around the world. Furthermore, Mandala® systems have been used to produce experiences ranging from interactive television shows to creative product marketing campaigns. The Mandala® can also be used as a unique performance medium for both music and stage production. Such was the case on April 24th.

Since 1986, Vincent John Vincent co-creator of the Mandala® (along with partners Francis MacDougall and Susan Wyshynski) has been performing in this virtual environment at concerts around the world with the band 20th Century Kid. It’s like performing in a live Rock music video. This particular Sunday, Vincent and the band were linked, via video teleconferencing technology, with fellow Toronto-based dance performer Kathleen Richardson who was waiting anxiously in Charleroi, Belgium to step across this video link into the Virtual World with Vincent. This video link used telephone lines to allow the audience in Belgium to view the entire event on live video. Using the Mandala® technology, Vincent and Kathleen stepped together onto a computer generated stage accessible from different ends of the earth and enjoyed by an international audience. They made use of the much touted Information Superhighway for an artistic purpose far beyond the scope of mere information transfer.

On this digital stage, Vincent played virtual musical instruments along with the band. During the performance Kathleen stepped in to join him on Virtual Drums, Bass, Bells and Chimes. Vincent continued to perform a freestyle performance with Kathleen periodically joining him to juggle animated balls, paint a virtual canvas with an animated brush, and dance together between continents. This new fusion of television and telephone will surely be the wave of the future as people are able to communicate and perform together, regardless of their physical location.

Having recently installed a permanent interactive video-teleconferencing facility at their Toronto studios, Vivid will be making many more forays onto the international digital frontier.

Video and slides of this event are available upon request.


Copyright © 2002 VPTVinc.