Stu­dio Babelsberg’s Art Depart­ment crea­tes the future in the Futurium

Berlin’s Futu­ri­um, the new impo­sing muse­um made enti­re­ly of glass next to the Main Sta­ti­on, opens up new per­spec­ti­ves on con­ceiva­ble futures. Babelsberg’s Art Depart­ment has also crea­ted visi­ons in the Futu­ri­um in the same way that it does for films. 

The huge “Neo-Natu­re” sculp­tu­re in the muse­um, which aims to pro­vi­de a new under­stan­ding of the natu­ral world, was built by the Babels­ber­gers – in a com­bi­na­ti­on of media tech­no­lo­gy mee­ting craft­sman­ship. More than 6,000 com­pon­ents for the sculp­tu­re were rede­si­gned, cal­cu­la­ted and sta­ti­cal­ly tes­ted with the aid of Aug­men­ted Rea­li­ty (AR). During the pro­duc­tion and assem­bly of the sculp­tu­re, the Art Department’s tech­ni­ci­ans used the Holo­Lens from Micro­soft, so-cal­led mixed rea­li­ty glas­ses. One can see nor­mal­ly as well as reco­g­ni­se holo­grams when using the­se glas­ses. A pre-pro­grammed appli­ca­ti­on made it pos­si­ble for every pie­ce of the com­plex sculp­tu­re to be visi­ble in 3D in advan­ce and from every ang­le within the exhi­bi­ti­on area. Assem­bly ins­truc­tions were also included. The assem­bly would have been much har­der wit­hout Holo­Lens, with incor­rect assem­bly being more probable.

The con­s­truc­tion of the mul­ti-pie­ce “Neo-Natu­re” sculp­tu­re made of wood was much less com­pli­ca­ted: it seems to be gro­wing orga­ni­cal­ly out of the ground, goes off in all dif­fe­rent direc­tions and arches up to a height of eight met­res in the exhi­bi­ti­on hall. Moreo­ver, the sculpture’s design fol­lows a mathe­ma­ti­cal prin­ci­ple defi­ning the Gol­den Ratio which is often found in the natu­ral world. 

The work of Stu­dio Babelsberg’s Art Depart­ment for Berlin’s Art+Com Stu­di­os in the Futu­ri­um shows that inno­va­ti­ve set con­s­truc­tion needs more than the clas­sic crafts of car­pen­ters, locks­mit­hs, sculp­tors, deco­ra­tors and pain­ters. Media tech­no­lo­gies have now beco­me an indis­pensable part of the work. This spe­cial con­s­truc­tion would have taken much lon­ger and not have beco­me any­whe­re near so pre­cise wit­hout media technologies. 

“We are con­stant­ly expan­ding our digi­tal exper­ti­se and digi­ti­sing our work­flow,” says Mana­ging Direc­tor Micha­el Düwel, who has been respon­si­ble for the Art Depart­ment now for more than 20 years. “This ensu­res that we remain a lea­der in set con­s­truc­tion for inter­na­tio­nal film and TV pro­jects. For us, every sin­gle step is digi­tal. The client’s wis­hes are visua­li­sed on the com­pu­ter, the sta­tics cal­cu­la­ted and the pre­cise rea­li­sa­ti­on deter­mi­ned and con­stant­ly refi­ned until com­ple­ti­on. Like­wi­se, the­re are more and more inter­faces bet­ween real-world imple­men­ta­ti­on and the opti­cal addi­ti­ons, the so-cal­led Com­pu­ter Gene­ra­ted Images (CGI). In addi­ti­on, we use the­se skills for indus­tri­al cli­ents on mock-up con­s­truc­tions such as for the first pro­to­ty­pes of Berlin’s new S-Bahn. “The­se dif­fe­rent fields of appli­ca­ti­on and expe­ri­en­ces thus enable us to remain at the cut­ting edge.”

By Eva Werner

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The media technologies of the future are already being used today – not only in the entertainment sector, but also in a wide variety of industries. Christine Lentz meets up with tech enthusiasts, established companies and researchers for our monthly MediaTech Hub Potsdam blog to tell the stories behind the innovative business models.