De Kristallen Bol

'De Kristallen Bol' (The Crystal Ball) is an interactive installation by Jaap de Jonge from 1996.

De Kristallen Bol

Jaap de Jonge: De Kristallen Bol (detail)

'Touch me', we hear.

'Touch me' is also the text we see on a crystal ball mounted in the wall. It is a tempting invitation to touch this ball. By in fact doing so, the visitor changes the text into a colourful kaleidoscopic image, composed of images from different sources. In part these are images as they are transmitted by the Rotterdam television cable network. These television images are projected onto the crystal ball, manipulated by mirrors and mixed with computer generated key patterns and animations. The result is an abstract, fragmented image. The movements within the television images cause the image to change continuously. The sound is provided in part by the television channels and is mixed in with and analogous to the images. By rotating the ball a different channel is chosen which changes both the image and the sound. The speed of rotation determines the speed with which images and sounds change.

As it is unclear from where these images and sounds are coming, the 'fortune-telling' takes on a different meaning with this particular crystal ball. The 'image of the future' presented here is an image of a wide variety of information originating in the 'images of the present'. A plethora of information is 'at hand', showing itself as we touch the ball, but the information contained in the original images is no longer visible. Although the magic ball derives its colours from being connected to the rest of the world, it transforms all images into colourful aesthetic patterns, regardless of their content. The visitor is aware that something changes by his touch; apparently we do influence the process, but we cannot control it. Drawn off from a mostly invisible/inaudible network of images and sounds that constantly change.

De Kristallen Bol was part of the 1996 DEAF exhibition.

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