Crowds lining up at Kaleidoscope from opening to closing of  Expo

Kaleidoscope at Expo '67 Montreal

TIME MAGAZINE 7/7/67: ".... in the style of the ancient sorcerers, the Kaleidoscope Pavilion does it all with mirrors... reflections of colors burst and bleed like paint blended  in a mixer; flowers open in the sun, firecrackers explode, seagulls turn red against a green sky. A violent visual pun-house, Kaleidoscope is the medium, the message, and the massage..."

TORONTO STAR 7/9/67:  "There's still a line-up to see Kaleidoscope, Toronto film-maker Morley Markson's three-way trip... for my time, the    most beautiful aesthetic experience at Expo."  Robert Fulford

Theatre 1: The World of Nature and the Vitality of Play... extending around you

In 3 minutes the experience winds down, softly leaving you in darkness.  Hearing sounds from next Theatre, arrow lights  direct you into Theatre 2 where you enter vast, endless interlocked columns pulsating with machinery: the Worlds of Technology and Electronics (below)

Huge towers of spinning rotors creating giant engines in space that go  upwards and downwards to infinity. You are dwarfed by mightiness of these moving  images, objects from the world of Techno-logy that combine into complex networks extending above and below as far as the eye can see.

Theatre 3 Worlds of Utter Fantasy                                                                                             The final area where a huge globe virtually hundreds of feet in diameter floats in space right before you, pulsating with kaleidoscoping worlds of fantasy, of the abstract, of pure light and colour.

Sphere, its surface moving and changing, overs in “space.

Swirling, colours, rotating, a planetary globe big as a city block

Kaleidoscope utilized Markson's interests in geometry, symmetry, cinematography and audio-visual design, resulting in a new film/space theatre experience of Color, Motion and Sound, the first virtual-reality theatre of cosmic proportion.   People were enthralled, came, camped in it if they could, talked about it, described it as the LSD experience without LSD, and lined up from beginning to end of Expo.

The Cycle of the Experience has taken you 12 minutes.  Three 35mm film projectors with endless film loops run continuously, automatically.  You have experienced a sequence of the Three Worlds of Nature, Technology, and the utterly Fantastic. The 3-part film "Man and Color" was the media core of the pavilion. This continuously-operating endless-looped 35 mm film was especially crafted to take bits of realities and effectively expand them, through multiplication, into kaleidoscopic super-realities.   Electronic sound score by R. Murray Schafer was programmed second by second to effect an exact marriage with the imagery to enhance the over-all spatial effect.  The media experience ranged from realism at the beginning of the tour to the man-made mechanical world, finally to abstraction, pure experience of color-motion-sound, ending, like many joyous occasions, in fireworks.

Plan, Visitor Sequencing; The shaded sections are circulation pathways and viewing areas.  As you wait in the entry area you hear sounds from Theatre 1.  Arrow lights direct you inside.  50 of you enter.  A huge kaleidoscopic horizontal panorama stretches around you, moving, flowing images from the world of Nature and Play enveloping you... (see Theatre 1,  above, and plan at right).  Then at 3 1/2 minutes, as the show fades, light and sound lead you to Theatre 2, enormous mechanistic, technologiical columns towering infinitely above and below and away into horizontal space...(see Theatre 2, above, and plan at right).  Then after andother 3 /2 minutes on to Theatre 3 (see Theatre 3, above, and plan at right), into an enormous virtual sphere the size of a small planet.  The entire sequence: 10 1/2 minutes.

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© Morley Markson

© Morley Markson

Audience experiencing a huge virtual world

For more information on further developments of the Kaleidoscope Theatre System / Wonderworlds please also see
WonderWorlds . Contact Morley Markson at

Credits: Kaleidoscope Theatre Concept and Design, Film Production, Direction: Morley Markson & Associates Ltd.  Project Co-ordinators:  Wir Handa,  University of Waterloo.  Architect: Bob Frew.  Sound Score and Production: R. Murray Schafer.

Sponsors: In alliance with the University of Waterloo, Six of Canada's leading chemical companies: Canadian Industries Limited, Chemcell Limited, Cyanamid of Canada Limited, Dow Chemical Canada Inc., Shawinigan Chemicals Limited, and Union Carbide Canada Ltd.

Theatre 2   Worlds of Technology and Electronics:  Skyscrapers of interlocking, pulsating, rotating machinery tower infinitely above the viewer and descend, infinitely deeply below.

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Participants in foreground confronted by the immense sphere, virtually hundreds of feet in diameter, with an intense light-show created through film imagery, a funfair midway ride’s lights in motion multiplied manyfold. The Giant Sphere’s Music climaxes with explosions of fireworks over entire Globe floating in front of you, virtually 500 feet in diameter.... an immense, wondrous virtual experience.

© Morley Markson

(image below enhanced for illustration purposes}

You follow small arrows out to the exit area where you re-orient yourself to the regular world... you wonder about the immensity of the experience, how you have been so wowed, and you try to sum it all up to tell your friends as you move to the Exit Ramp. An LSD experience without LSD?  What? How?

© Morley Markson

At the end of 3 minutes the experience winds down into darkness.   Automatically you are drawn into:

(Final Images, above) The fireworks wind down, the sphere fades slowly away. You find yourselves alone, in darkness.