Interview with Ciro Marchetti
by Bonnie Cehovet
I had the great good fortune to meet Ciro Marchetti at Readers Studio 2009. It was there that the Tarot world got the first glimpse of a project that Ciro had been working on for some time – an interactive membership site that was conceived along with the Legacy of the Divine Tarot deck itself, the companion story, and the promotional video.
Ciro, along with team members Carlos Rodriguez (FL), Chris Maher (NY), and Rik Hamilton (UK), have put in an incredible amount of work (which started before the deck was even finished). To quote Ciro: “The purpose of this site is to provide a visually rich Tarot environment that will be both entertaining, informative and functional.
This is intended to be an ongoing project, with updated articles, Hall of Knowledge “snippets” (50 word synopsis of Tarot related wisdom), and some completely new features in the future. Various people from the Tarot world have contributed articles and snippets, allowing many different voices to be heard. (I would like to thank Ciro for allowing me to be one of those people!)
Let’s hear what Ciro himself has to say about this stunning world that he has created for us!
BC: Ciro, this was an all inclusive project from the very beginning. How did that come about?
CM: From the learning curve of producing the Gilded Tarot several years ago, I considered there had to be more possibilities and options for telling the Tarot story than simply having 78 images printed on card. Artists throughout history have embraced new media and technology when it became available. From hand prints on cave walls to the latest multimedia feats delivered to your mobile phone. Yet Tarot seemed to have lagged behind, up until very recently. Tarot decks have been modified in thousands of ways from variations of size, system, theme and image style, but all still based on an image printed on card. Even web sites and phone applications are still merely reproducing a static image albeit on a screen of some kind.
I felt that this missed a great opportunity to take the genre to a new and different level entirely, namely to incorporate animation and sound to breathe some additional life and allow the "cards" or sequences to better communicate their message. I believe when I did this initially on the interactive CD that accompanied the original special edition of the Tarot of Dreams, this was a first. This Legacy web site is an evolution of that process.
BC: What was the developmental process of the Hall of Knowledge?
CM: This is really a means of virtually replicating a scene from my Legacy story, where I enter through the "Gateway" and experience the various interactive walls. Interactive data bases which when approached, respond by providing a wealth of information and instructions covering an eclectic range of subjects.
BC: Tell us a bit about the lenses that have been incorporated into the Halls of the Major and Minor Arcana. How will they allow for future expansion, and what might we see here?
CM: The larger central lens is the main viewing area that displays the animated video sequence for every card of the suite and arcana. Outside of that main lens each interface has four additional smaller lenses, the first of which is already active. Its a link to a designated card calculator or "Portal", with appropriate question categories for its corresponding suite. The other small lenses will be activated in the near future with some really great additional features. These will include "talking cards", and the ability to select any card, add a personal message or greeting and send it by e-mail as a digital "post card".
BC: Can you explain why the downloads will go faster the more times an individual uses this site? (Personally, I felt that the download time was very good, right from the beginning.)
CM: We are assuming that some people may not have the fastest internet access or when they log on for the first time the internet may be at a peak time, and the download of all the graphics and video content may reflect that. Nevertheless we have put a lot of effort into compressing the content to be as efficient as possible and hosting the content on high end servers. Much of the content will also be stored in your browser cache, so in fact it won't have to be repeatedly downloaded.
BC: I love the reading rooms! Can you give us a mini tour, and tell us how they work?
CM: We consider the reading rooms to be one of, if not the most sophisticated reading software available. Its a proprietary one developed by Rik Hamilton, who is not only a master software programmer, but also a tarot reader of many years experience. It offers the Gilded, Tarot of Dreams and exclusively the Legacy decks. The Reading Rooms are designed to simulated a true reading environment. you click and drag cards onto decorated tables to create whatever spreads you wish. You are not limited to simply choosing from a limited list of pre determined spreads.
After a reading, you can type a summary, save it to your "Private Journal" for future retrieval or send it by e-mail to your querant.
BC: What are some of the ways that you suggest for using the animated cards feature?
CM: Beyond simply looking at them to gain a deeper understanding of their message, we believe that they lend themselves to being used as teaching aids by those who give tarot classes.
BC: Could the animated cards be used in a professional reading?
CM: Absolutely, wether from their home base, or at a local coffee shop or book store. By logging on, readers could quickly select and play the animated cards that they have just selected from a physical deck and discuss them with their querant in their context of the reading.
BC: If someone wanted to submit an article for future use, how would they go about doing so?
CM: Simply contact me with a brief description of the subject of your proposed article and short bio.
BC: Please talk for a moment about your gift shop. There are some incredibly awesome items offered, including Tarot bags, shoulder bags, quilts, cushions and reading cloths. (All done by hand by Ciro’s talented wife Maria!) How did this come about?
CM: My wife and I have a lovely house which is elaborately decorated with a number of mystical and tarot related items, many of which are adapted from, or incorporate my imagery. After having hosted a couple of meetings of the local tarot association, many of our guests indicated that they wanted to also have some of the items on display. It expanded from there.
BC: What is included in your graphics room?
CM: I receive requests almost on a daily basis asking permission to use some of my images to decorate other peoples web sites and blogs. So I decided to go one better and produce a selection of tarot themed images, designed to also incorporate plain areas, where people could add their own names (real or professional)
BC: What would you like the Tarot world to know about using this wonderful site?
CM: I think the most important issue is to point out that this site is not merely a source of tarot 'eye candy". The content is designed to be visited on a regular basis to be used and to learn from. It contains an ever growing Library of articles especially written for this site by leading authors and figures from todays tarot community.
Other features such as the daily card calculators are exclusive and sophisticated programs in their own right designed to filter their responses via the users input to provide more personal and relevant results.
And last but not least, the site designed to constantly incorporate new features and content.
I want to thank Ciro for taking the time to chat with us. This is an incredible venture, made even more so by the fact that he is including the Tarot community in the process.
BIO: Ciro Marchetti (Florida) is an award-winning artist from the United Kingdom. He studied art in London, followed by a career working in Europe and South America before settling in the United States where he opened a design agency in Miami. In addition to managing his company, Ciro also gives workshops and lectures on digital digital imagery and illustration at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute, and continues to create his own visionary art. His decks include the “Gilded Tarot”, “Tarot of Dreams”, and “Legacy of the Divine Tarot”.
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.