Beijing Accelerator was created after being inspired by a recent visit to Beijing, and the realization of how quickly the dynamics of a city could transform into such apparent modernism. Although similar to an earlier prototype, Panoramic Acceleration, in that it also explores the effects of a tempo-driven society on the individual, this new version has an enhanced cinematographic experience as well as a superior interface.

The basic working principle is naturally akin to the original model; the participant takes position in a racing-chair on a motorized structure equipped with a joystick. This time however, a 160x120 cm screen is positioned in front of the user and while they control both the direction and speed of the chair, rotating panoramic images are projected on the screen before them. The aim is to synchronize the moving image with the rotation of the chair. Once this is achieved, the participant is able to view the images properly and the disorientation associated with the uncoordinated spinning is blocked.

Specific to the Beijing Accelerator, the target square in the top panoramic image needs to be matched with the same position shown on the magnified image below. As soon as this is achieved the images “snap into place” and consequently rotate in sync with the participants movement. After a short period of time however, a new rotating-panorama appears with a higher preset speed. This is determined as the next level and is more difficult to obtain the aforementioned balance in order to cohesively recognize the picture. In total, about 6 levels need to be accomplished for completion of the experience.

beijing accelerator
beijing accelerator

Concept, hardware and images: Marnix de Nijs
Image manipulation: Reinier van Brummelen (Stereo Matrix), NL
Sound: Boris Debackere, Antwerp, BE
Software: Brecht Debackere, Antwerp, BE

Marnix de Nijs © 2022