Virtual Sumo is an interactive installation inspired by sumo, the japanese national sport in which two contestants of exceptional bulk clothed only in a special loincloth, with their hair arranged in elaborate style, try to force their adversary outside the competition area (dohyo, a circle 4,70 meters in diameter) or make him touch the rug. The attack in preceded by a fase of mutual observation (shikiri) in which the fighters. Crouching on their toes only, conduct a sort of cold war consisting of eye contact, study and strategic ploys, with the clear intention of making their opponent lose concentration. In this phase ( which once used to last an unlimited length of time and is now limited to a maximum of four minutes) it seems that even slight changes on the exposed areas of the contestants’ skin would allow both opponent and audience to judge the state of fighter’s emotions. In this installation two fighters, seated at a table with a monitor horizontally set into it so that they are obliged to assume a position similar to that used in sumo, rest their left hands on a sensor that records the state of their emotions (heartbeat and surface perspiration). On the monitor the competition area can be seen, a circle in which there are two game pieces representing the two contestants; and their emotional state is also visualized, moment by moment. The contestants can thus see on the screen their own and the other’s state of concentration and, given the proximity of their face to that of their opponent, can use disturbing stategies. The more emotionally neutral their state of mind is, the more their (virtual) energy grows. When they think the moment has come , by pressing a button with their right hand they launch the attack: The piece that represents them flings itself at the opponent’s piece tryng to throw it out of the circle. On the wall above the two contestants a large screen will dramatically reveal the alternation of the two fighters’ emotional responses.
Concept Mario Canali
Software Design & Game Design Yaniv Steiner
Hardware Design Massimo Banzi
Grafica e suoni Gabriele Gotini
Struttura lignea Leonardo Aurelio
Tecnico Massimiliano Cavigioli
Prototipo sensori William Giroldini
Produzione Studio Canali S.r.l.