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Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror is an interactive installation made as part of the permanent exhibition of the visitor center Ivana's House of Fairy Tales in Ogulin. The idea was to create something that will for a moment draw the visitors into the world of fairy tales and leave them with a feeling they carry something magical within themselves, regardless of their age. We had complete freedom in devising and producing this interactive installation. Here is what we came up with:

Storytelling as a starting point

Telling stories has been around since the ancient times but the technology creates new prospects for connecting the virtual world with the reality and thus opens up new possibilities in storytelling. Visitors have a desire to go deeper into the story getting to know the true nature of characters; they wish to see the world from their perspective and want to develop a deeper relationship with them. In telling a good story it is necessary to find the right tone for the characters and the feeling of time in the story. With this interaction we sought to accomplish the challenge of conveying a story from the screen into real life.


Great storytelling - building a strong character

A good story is the foundation of successful digital interaction - it excites, intrigues and invites the user to establish a relationship. Once you have defined the story, it is necessary to create a main character who will carry it.

In our case we decided to revive one of the famous characters from Ivana’s Tales of Long Ago - Rampogusto - the king of all forest goblins. We placed him in a magical mirror and the idea was to depict him without a body, as a face which emerges from mist and then disappears.

To make alive or create a believable character is the hardest part of conceiving a story. To succeed as a character it has to be able to convince the visitor of its personality and what it stands for. Rampogusto has met all the expectations and become a surly host adored by the visitors.

Magic Mirror - bjesomar

Entering the cave

The interaction has been hidden in a cave which is located in the Magic Forest. When the mirror is not being used, the space of the cave is darkened and the only light that can be seen are the green LEDs whose subtle lighting along the floor indicate that the small space may be entered, inviting the visitors to explore. The background sound to the cave is the snoring of Rampogusto, the cave’s host who rests until roused.

Entering the space triggers a motion sensor which detects visitors and initiates the script. A spotlight lights up in front of a large screen that symbolizes a mirror showing the visitor’s “reflection” in that moment. The cave’s host addresses the visitors, leading them into a series of interactions and forging an emotional connection that convinces them that Rampogusto is almost real.

Magic Mirror - monster ilustrations

Magic to recognizing the magical

The visitor is photographed in a random funny pose and then "scanned" for the purpose of getting a read on all that is magical within them so that they may be depicted in their form as a little monster.

The characters are generated by detecting the colour of clothing that the visitor is wearing so as to establish a link with the real world. A visitor in a red shirt will get assigned a magical character with its body coloured red. After generating a character, the host Rampogusto reveals to the visitor what is their hidden magical power.

Magic Mirror - monsters

A keepsake every visitor wishes to keep

Once the visitor discovers what their inner monster is, they enter their name on the screen. Rampogusto then expels them out of the cave and returns to his dreams. The light is extinguished and Rampogusto continues to snore until the next visitor. The generated character is stored in the database and for a symbolic fee may be printed on a greeting card as a keepsake at the ticket booth.

Magic Mirror - print

Visitors’ comments as a guarantee of success

By itself this installation is not technologically complex but the story that we were able to use to draw visitors into the real world of fairy tales has exceeded all expectations. It’s the storytelling itself that is the basis for the realization of high-quality digital interactions which establish relationships.

There's a saying not yet written down in any reading book. This saying goes: What the Apprentice may be capable of imagining, he will surely be capable of doing. I.B.Mažuranić

The Magic Mirror has become a sort of a hit of the exhibition and visitors patiently wait their turn to discover what inner magic they are hiding. Since the opening more than 13,000 visitors toured the Ivana's House of Fairy Tales, and Rampogusto has so far revealed someone’s magical powers and magical inner image more than 4000 times. 

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Behind the scenes


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