Beijing Accelerator


Marnix de Nijs is one of my favourite artists. His works are non-pretentious and understandable by anyone. Some of them seem to be inspired by playground attractions (run, motherfucker, run), others that explore our relationships with machines are uncannily compelling (Spatial Sounds or Push/Pull)


Beijing Accelerator clearly belongs to the recreation ground. The inspiration for it came when the artist was visiting Beijing, and realized how quickly the dynamics of a city could transform into such apparent modernism. Similar to an earlier prototype, Panoramic Accelerator, it 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 participant takes position in a racing-chair on a motorized structure equipped with a joystick. While the participant controls both the direction and speed of the chair, rotating panoramic images are projected on the 160x120 cm screen in front of him/her. The aim is to synchronize the moving image with the rotation of the chair in order to view the images properly and block the disorientation associated with the uncoordinated spinning. If the user cannot synchronize the speed of the chair with the images his balance system will send different information to the brain then the eyes do, causing an intense feeling of discontrol and can eventually lead to nausea.


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 �¢ï¿½ï¿½snap into place�¢ï¿½ï¿½ and 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 (there are 6 levels in total) and is more difficult to obtain the balance in order to cohesively recognize the picture.

Originally posted on we make money not art by Rhizome