[TISEA 1992] Artists Statement: Eric Mattson & Alain Mongeau – Onyrisk

Artists Statement

Interactive laserdisc.

Onyrisk offers an interactive surrogate travel through allegorical representations of dreamlike sequences. It is an experimental work that is set to develop tools for a new interactive art form. It is also meant to explore the limits of interactivity when applied to time-based material. The eerie texture of the visuals combined with an equivalent soundtrack enable a greater connection between the various components.  The global interactivity of our work is enriched by its combinatorial potential.
(Onyrisk is a play on French words: ony comes from the term onirisme which refers to the dream state; risk was added to qualify the unknown involved in the interactive experience.)

The whole concept is relatively simple. The visuals consist of modified film sequences that are stacked on two laserdiscs. Four different soundtracks of ambient music and loops can be constantly accessed (if you combine them, you could count on about ten reasonable combinations). This version of Onyrisk is played on a single Macintosh screen using a video switcher and a Raster Ops card. The system is entirely controlled by a Hypercard stack that also loads, when needed, Macromind Director animations (some of which are interactive).
Technically speaking, the installation is ‘low-profile’. There is however a highly complex Hypercard pro-gramming involved, in the form of an expert system that manages the connectibility of the audiovisuals and matches it to the hardware’s possibilities. Onyrisk is an attempt to implement true computer interactivity at a deeper level in audiovisual design, tracking and taking note of each of the viewer’s decisions before showing the next sequence. The texture of the piece is constantly readjusted by the intelligence at work in the expert system.
This project is the result of team work involving different members of the J.A. de Seve Research

  • Eric Mattson & Alain Mongeau, Canada