A bank of faders, a touchpad, and then … it just does anything you want. Even today, the idea of a fully-integrated visual instrument is a pretty profound concept. Ableton’s creators thought about the design of the Synclavier digital synth (the rival of the CVI’s music sibling, the CMI) when designing their software. At least a couple of you have some strong ideas about the future of "visual instruments" and live visualism in general. Certainly, I’ll be thinking about the CVI as I look at the setup of my live visual rig. The effects themselves on the CVI don’t all date well, especially after the CVI itself popularized their use (and overuse) in the 80s. But the elegance of the design as interface can still inspire.

Co-creator Peter Vogel has kept satisfying our appetite for gems from his VHS library. Thanks, Peter, for saving these from permanent deterioration. Top: watch a BBC host get a kick out of turning herself into a video star. Bottom: the original demo video, which gives a good overview of the effects capabilities. (Especially interesting, as students and artists learn to recreate some of the same effects from scratch in tools like Max/MSP/Jitter and Processing.) Tomorrow’s world, indeed.