Norderstedt, December 12 2019 – Latent Being is the latest work by Refik Anadol, a pioneer in the aesthetics of artificial intelligence. In this audiovisual installation, Anadol uses cutting-edge deep learning algorithms to transform Kraftwerk Berlin, a former power plant, into a temporary ecosystem combining man, machine, and space. Lufthansa Industry Solutions’ localization solution is one of the installation’s technical elements and feeds visitors’ movement patterns, captured in real time, into the algorithm. We asked Dr. Holger Schlüter, Director of IoT / Industry 4.0, what connects technology and art.
Artificial Intelligence: Man, Machine, and Space
Lufthansa Industry Solutions is entering the world of art for the first time with its IT solutions. How exactly are we involved in Latent Being?
Our solution makes up part of the installation’s technical infrastructure. It is made up of numerous projectors, laser units, and a small computing center for the artist’s AI application. Our localization solution converts the visitors’ movement patterns into a light installation. In this case, we’re using the Bluetooth-based localization solution supplied by our partner Quuppa. We’ve adapted it to the infrastructure at Kraftwerk Berlin and implemented an interface with the software controlling the artwork. In a nutshell, our task was to plan, implement, and integrate an element of the technical installation that allows visitors to become an active part of the installation.
What contact did you have with the artist and his team? How did you work together?
Before realizing the installation, we sat down for a day with the artist’s developer. He’s the person responsible for the software controlling the projectors. Together, we analyzed the requirements, defined the interfaces, and implemented the first technical proof of concept in our test environment. The challenge lay in the fact that the right data – that is, the visitors’ current positions and their movement patterns – needs to be supplied at the right time with zero latency. The artist had the idea, the concept of what should be displayed; we put technologies in place that made it possible to turn this idea into reality.
The artist works with artificial intelligence in his installation. Your role is to supply the data. Would that be fair to say?
Yes, that’s very much the case. We generate data that does not yet exist in digital form, such as the position of a visitor within the space. Algorithms – based on either artificial intelligence or simply data analytics – then convert this data into information that, in the Latent Being installation, is displayed to the visitor in the form of light and image elements.
Are there further services on offer to the art and culture industry?
We offer our entire portfolio to museums. This ranges from monitoring environmental parameters, such as temperatures and air humidity, through to complete building automation. We offer augmented reality solutions to enrich works of art with further information about them. We can also manage visitor flows and plan building capacities. These are just a few examples of the possibilities digitalization can offer on the road to creating the smart museum.
Latent Being by Refik Anadol will run at Kraftwerk Berlin until 5 January 2020. The installation is presented by Light Art Space (LAS), a newly founded, non-profit art foundation providing a platform for art, science, and technology in Berlin.
About Lufthansa Industry Solutions
Lufthansa Industry Solutions is a service provider for IT consulting and system integration. This Lufthansa subsidiary helps its clients with the digital transformation of their companies. Its customer base includes companies both within and outside the Lufthansa Group, as well as more than 200 companies in various lines of business. The company is based in Norderstedt and employs over 2,000 members of staff at several branch offices in Germany, Albania, Switzerland and the USA.