the video mirror, June 1998



The Swiss colour psychologist/ philosopher Max Lüscher had great success with his books in the 60's and 70's. The book 'The Colour Test' became a bestseller in Europe and the U.S. In his book Lüscher describes how a preference or an aversion to a specific colour can represent a person's state of mind. The installation 'Appearance and reality are as close as clothing and skin...' is based on  this principle. The installation reacts on the colours of the clothing worn by the viewer. The camera records the colours and a computer analyses these colours. Video on the mirror and sound in the room are displayed on the basis of these data. In most cases interactivity is based on an 'active' user of a 'passive' system. This interactivity is often clear: push the enter button and the cursor moves to the next line of the page. If the user of the system has been made passive, then there is a new dimension in the context of interactive.

Approximately 60 different movie loops are made for the mirror. Since this project is about colour, many movies are colourful. The 'psychological' classifying has been done on the basis of the colour interpretation by Lüscher, and by personal preference.

click pictures above to see some video's (total 2,7 MB)


The mirror itself is about 2.5m. high, 1.25m. wide and 1m. deep. Because the projection is done from the backside of the mirror, there has to be enough space to project the whole top part. Through my experience I know you need in between 10 and 7 meters, depending on the lens of the beamer. In front of the mirror you need approximately 3,5 meters. Since the mirror needs its own light to obtain accurate colour detection, it has to stand in darkened or dimmed room.

-   video beamer with computer connection, preferably one with a lens which can project wide at short distance
-   amplifier and loudspeakers, preferably Tannoy Little Red Monitor
-   video monitor (not computer!), TFT for better colour accuracy (needs recalibration at place)
-   computer monitor SVGA, anything will do
-   Apple PowerMac computer with fast video card and MIDI interface
-   I-cube interface for input from colour detection