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Humboldt Forum


Berlin, Germany

Wechselspiel - Overview video

A generative installation in the heart of the Humboldt Forum.

We created a generative installation within the atrium of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. The seventeen-metre-tall artwork, displayed on a towering screen sculpture spans across three floors of the museum. The permanent installation is visible from every angle inside the atrium. The frames change so that they appear differently at any given time. This means that visitors can experience an ever-changing simulation of the elements every time they pass through the atrium.

Overview of the installation.

Designing the flow of nature over time.

The artwork's title, Wechselspiel which roughly translates as ‘interplay’, consists of a real-time environment that runs a realistic simulation of how winds, tides, tectonics and forces of erosion interact over time. The time variable is sped up one thousandfold, so visitors to the Humboldt Forum can view a simulation of the impact on the landscape over a few million years.

Detail of the vertical screens.
  • Closeup of the generative artwork.
  • Particles moving on the surface.
  • Particles recalling natural forces along different surfaces.

Capturing the Humboldt brother's’ spirit in a piece of art.

As our largest media installation to date, we worked in close collaboration with the museum's team to capture the essence of the Humboldt brothers, their spirit and legacy with the right intellectual substructure. Alexander, the founding father of oceanography and creator of an international network of scientists. He was also lesser known for his fine naturalistic illustrations and cartography. Wihelm, a linguist, was known for his significant contributions to new models of education. The pioneering brothers upheld a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to the sciences. We engaged with this approach and applied it to the conceptual framework for this piece.

Setting up the installation.
The overview from the upper floors.
Details of the screens installation.

Alexander von Humboldt

"Everything is interaction. Nothing stands for itself, nothing is static."

Generative art waves and particles.
Generative art surface creation.

A virtual reality simulator connected with the sculpture.

Our setup includes a fully virtual simulated environment in the atrium. This provides media artists with a tool to test and display content and communications on the screen tower, an interchangeable structure with a number of different multimedial uses. Wechselspiel at its essence encompasses the interconnectedness, chaos and harmony of the ever-changing and fragile natural environment, inviting the museum’s patrons to experience and interpret its vivid imagery during their next visit to Berlin's Humboldt Forum.

Simulation of the whole installation.
Simulation on the different screens.

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