Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Movie vending machine

Prague is a city with a long and fine history in movie and theatre, which is embodied in the Laterna magika tradition. During the INYOP workshop on interactive movies in Prague in July 2004 we had a very special evening program about the performance Kinoautomat (movie vending machine), probably the first interactive performance in the world. It was a walk down memory lane, helped by one of the camera men and the daughter of the director Radúz Çinçera.

Daughter and cameraman Posted by Hello

I found this summary of Kinoautomat on Internet:
At the Expo of 1967 in Montréal, Radúz Çinçera presented for the first time to a larger audience the «Kinoautomat» he developed together with the directors Jan Rohac and Vladimir Svitacek, scenographer Josef Svoboda, and Jaroslav Fric and Bohumil Mika. It involved the world’s first interactive movie theater. In the movie theater’s seating, viewers found two buttons necessary for making selections; they were confronted with a film whose action could always be stopped. At one point, two principal actors from the screened film appeared onstage and asked the audience how they thought the scene should be continued. The viewers decided; afterwards, the adequate film version, arrived at by public vote, was then screened. The film«One Man and his Jury» told the story of an «average apartment house,» with turbulent goings-on between tenants. In one scene, a young woman slams her door shut after checking to see who rang her doorbell. Since she was in the shower, nothing covers her body except a towel. In her panic she rings her neighbor’s door and asks for help. Here the film is stopped. The audience is asked whether the neighbor should let her in or not. In almost every case the majority of the viewers answered yes. Only once, at the Expo, did the viewers vote no—when the audience involved a large group of nuns.

Scene from Kinoautomat Posted by Hello

«The branching structure wasn't tree-like, doubling the number of scenes needed at each choice, but rather always remained only two. They did this by carefully crafting a story such that no matter which of the two options were chosen, it would end up back at the same next choice. The vote was executed by the projectionist switching one lens cap between the two synchronized projectors. The artfulness, ultimately, was not in the interaction but in the illusion of interaction. The film's director, Raduz Cincera, made it as a satire of democracy, where everyone votes but it doesn't make any difference.» (Quote from: Michael Naimark, Interactive Art - Maybe It's a Bad Idea, 1997).

Cameraman Posted by Hello

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