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For those who didn't have the opportunity to visit the "RINGS: Five Passions
in World Art" exhibition at Atlanta's High Museum of Art this summer, the
latest multimedia production from Calliope Media will take you into the 1996
Olympic Arts Festival's centerpiece. Opened from July 4 through September 29,
the RINGS exhibition gathered over 120 art pieces symbolizing universal human
emotions to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Modern Olympics. Organized
into five rings that represent each of the five emotions (love, anguish,
awe, triumph and joy), the interactive CD-ROM features over one hundred works
of art ranging from paintings to sculptures, originating from various museums
and private collections throughout the world. Designed by interactive artists
Jim Gasperini and Tennessee Rice Dixon, RINGS is unlike most other
multimedia titles which simply put pictures, videos and sounds together
related to a common subject. Au contraire, RINGS is a true artistic
experience that not only sensitize senses but also the imagination.
At the beginning of RINGS are five video and audio introductions from J. Carter Brown, RINGS exhibition director and director emeritus of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and Ned Rifkin, Director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Beyond the general introduction to the exhibition, these presentations will remind you of the ancient Olympic games and their cultural legacy through a brief lesson of history. You will also learn about the passionate Baron Pierre de Coubertin who devoted his entire life to promote his ideal that he called Olympism, and renovate the ancient games to their present day form. Of course, you are not obliged to watch them, and if you prefer to jump in the exhibition itself, it's only at a click away. As a matter of fact, the RINGS' interface will liberate the user from clicking abusively on the mouse buttons while navigating through the different screens. Most of the time, selections are made just by passing the mouse icon over a specific region of the screen or by clicking the left mouse button once. Difficult to imagine something easier indeed!
From the introductory screen, you can choose which ring you want to first visit by clicking in the center of the concentric circles. According to the color of the ring icon at that particular moment, you enter into one of the exhibition's parts. The same way the five colored Olympic rings represent each a part of the world, in RINGS they symbolize five emotions that are universally expressed by humans, whatsoever the differences that may exist between races. Thus red stands for love, violet for anguish, blue for awe, yellow for triumph and green for joy. If you worry about your memory not remembering the color code, the question mark in the upper right corner of the screen will provide you with a legend and all the necessary help to easily navigate throughout the program.
As you enter in one of the five main sections, you will discover a circular window with a segmented colored ring. From this point, you can select a particular object by moving your cursor over the ring sections which will change the work of art in the center of the window. With each object comes a brief description on the right part of the screen, supplying the object's title, date of creation and artist's name. Clicking directly on the ring's segment that corresponds to the object, will bring commentaries of J. Carter Brown on that object, while clicking either on the text description or on the work itself will provide you with more details. Comments were written by dozens of different contributors from universities and museums across the country, and provide users with the history and artistic context in which the work was created. Furthermore, users may take a closer look at the work through zooming possibilities to examine more details.
Each section of the exhibition features two, three or four animations called
"Passion Plays" reflecting the possible forms of an emotion. With awe for
example, there are three presentations with works grouped in three categories:
Awe of the Supernatural, Awe of the Natural and Transcendental Awe. The
audio-visual presentations feature artistic effects with morphing and other
visual transitions. Poems of different epochs and cultures ranging from
Rimbaud, Ovid and Neruda to the Chinese Li Po and the sacred texts of the
Indian Sanskrit, accompany the Passion Plays while delivering a message that
provokes an emotion.
One interesting feature of RINGS is the map origins pointing at the geographical location where the work is originating from. You can easily access this feature by clicking on the map icon that appears when you selected one work. You will be presented with one of the nine regional maps covering the entire globe from North America to Oceania, and you can switch from one area to another just by clicking on the icon representing that part of the world. On the maps, the numerous locations are represented by colored dots which, using the same color code mentioned earlier, also indicate to which emotion the work belongs. As you travel around the world and move the cursor over the locations, each work of art will be displayed with a reduced size in a small window placed at the upper right corner of the screen. Should you want to learn more about it, you just need to click on the small window.
Written by Frederick Claude
Click here for screen shots.
IBM-PC compatible computer with a 486-66 Mhz or faster processor,
Min 8Mb memory,
Microsoft Windows 3.1 or higher,
Hard drive required with at least 14Mb free,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
256-color 640x480 pixel Super VGA display,
Microsoft compatible mouse.
8-bit MPC compatible sound card and speakers.
25 Mhz 68040 processor or faster,
6.3 Mb available RAM (PowerMacintosh: 8Mb available RAM),
256-color 640x480 pixel display,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
System 7 or higher.
1526 Cloverfield Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA, 90404-3502.
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Web site: Calliope Media
In North America:
2 Theatre Square,
Orinda, CA 94563-3346
|Order line:||800-336-2947 in the US|
|1-510-933-5630 outside the US|
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London EC1M 4AY.
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