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Mind of the Universe

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The 'Mind of the Universe' concert in Linz, Austria was performed on 8 September, 1984, in front of an 80,000 person audience. The setup included 13 channels of sound, one of which was suspended 1,500 feet over the audience by a helicopter. The purpose of the concert was to describe musically, the 15 billion year history of the universe. Details provided by the Ars Electronica Festival Pages.


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'Mind of the Universe' tells a story of the creation, development and future of our cosmos and our planet. Tomita expands his monumental opus like a gigantic arch from the Big Bang over the slow development of the Earth to the future of mankind in outer space. 15,000 million years of the universe's history was presented to all the spectators on the banks of the Danube via a multi-channel stereo sound system together with music and light.

Inspiration for the Concert

The idea for this project was born when Tomita watched Stanley Kubrick's '2001 - A Space Odyssey' and saw a Space Base circling around the Earth to the tune of Johann Strauss' 'Blue Danube' waltz...

Tomita's opus consists of six parts: as an introduction, 30 minutes before the beginning of the performance in fact, the public is presented with a distant kind of sound, very soft, very quiet - just as if it were coming directly from outer space. Then the concert begins:

Tomita wants to create a new visual appreciation of the open space with this new opus. 'Mind of the Universe' tries to incorporate almost all means of artistic design in open space: light, laser, fireworks, reflections, projections on surfaces of water and smoke, light columns, light pyramids, a helicopter as a UFO and others.

In the past few years, a growing number of one-dimensional visual events in the open space have been developed, be it fantastic lasershows, fireworks or the Fire Theatre. 'Mind of the Universe' consists of the basic elements of light and fire on one hand, and the achievements of computer and synthesizer technology on the other. Nature and High Technology are united in the tale about the history of the universe.

The Danube Park, the area where the event is held, is marked and framed by light columns. On the Danube, the ships with the participants on board are in a constant dialogue with the universe: a chorus vessel with a choir of 100 persons, a ship for two soloists (violin and Japanese flute), as well as a ship for additional light sculptures. Banks of mist and walls of water serve as projection screens for the laser; a helicopter - equipped with full sound and light - appears as a UFO, trying to get in contact with infinity.

Isao Tomita himself floats in a five-tonne light pyramid which acts as a control unit, a musical and technical High-Tech Centre high above the river Danube.

The aim of 'Mind of the Universe' is to introduce a new dimension to experience art: a Spectaculum Mundi of the Electronic Age.


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[Mind of the Universe]
One [17k JPEG].
[Mind of the Universe]
Two [15k JPEG].
[Mind of the Universe]
Three [17k JPEG].
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Four [23k JPEG].
[Mind of the Universe]
Leaflet [146k GIF].

A selection of images from the 'Mind Of The Universe' event.
Tomita sits at the controls during the soundcheck before the concert,
the pyramid containing Tomita is raised at the concert start,
and the finale of the event. The last image is from the 'Bolero' LP.

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