BEYOND Festival 2018 – Future Design

At the beginning of October, BEYOND Festival 2018 took place in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Festival was dedicated to V-Arts, artistic & artificial intelligence and post-capitalism.

Already in 2013, the 3IT entered into cooperation with BEYOND. Representatives of the 3IT partner network have been present at the conference ever since. This year, 3IT chairman Dr. Ralf Schäfer and Executive Manager Kathleen Schröter actively participated in the conference. The following provides an insight into the BEYOND Festival 2018 with the topic “Future Design”.

Ludger Pfanz, professor in charge and founder of the BEYOND festival invited all attendees to think outside the box and to picture a world beyond their specific professional expertise. Working in interdisciplinary teams, the aim was to address the challenges our digital society is facing and the problems for our economies that are coming with them – whether related to a specific technology or the integration of new technologies in various sectors of the industry. On Wednesday evening the festival was opened with the exhibition “We Buy Storms”. Artists from all over the world were represented by displaying their digital art.

The symposium was opened by Dr. Ralf Schäfer who introduced V-Art, focusing in his presentation on volumetric video capturing solutions. 3IT partner Sönke Kirchhof (reallifefilm international / INVR.SPACE) presented his latest project: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, a collaboration and publicly funded project by reallifefilm international, Fraunhofer HHI and Trotzkind. Furthermore, Sönke Kichhof demonstrated how his company uses real-time generated point clouds for real 3D dynamic models for the use in VR and AR. Moreover, reallifefilm international and INVR.SPACE were the main sponsors of the entire equipment needed for the VR & AR exhibits, which could be experienced during the festival. Dr. Sebastian Knorr, a Senior Research Scientist and Lecturer within the Communication Systems Group at TU Berlin, a partner university of the 3IT Berlin, presented his work in the university labs. The afternoon session then focused on the artistic approach of VR & AR. Kathleen Schröter initiated the session with a presentation dedicated to the different use cases of VR & AR. During that part the 3IT partner university UNSW gave a presentation about immersive experience “Parragirls Past, Present: Unlocking Memories of Institutional ‘Care’”.

The second day focused on artificial and artistic intelligence. Starting with an inspiring presentation about human-machine-interaction from Prof. Dr. Barbara Deml from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a highlight certainly was Festo’s presentation: The audience was able to witness how a robot butterfly flew over their heads. This was followed by a stunning afternoon session: The artist Roman Lipski showed how he created fine art paintings with the help of an AI muse created by YQP Birds on Mars. Furthermore, the composer and Artificial Intelligence scientist Eduardo R. Miranda presented his work at the interface of biology and music. He showed how he uses an organism – similar to a mushroom – that generates electricity and collaborates with the artist in a piano music duet. Hence, one could say that he uses a bio computer to collaborate with him.

The third day focused on the topic of “Post-capitalism” and started with the presentation of three Professors of the HfG, who gave the audience an introduction in the fields of philosophy and arts. Thereafter, the well-known scientist Mark Post gave an update of his work on cultured meat. He provided insight on the opportunities of cultured meat, how it could be an alternative to intensive animal farming and how this addresses climate change and the increasing demand for meat consumption worldwide.

On the fourth day, questions emerged about the future of education, about how to find a balance between the digital and the analog world, as well as how to address the major issues of digital society and the growing world population. One of our favorite artists, the dean of the arts and media school of NTU Singapore, impressed the audience with her unusual artwork regarding climate change. This year she showed how to use AI for visualizing how the climate is changing worldwide and how the collection of worldwide weather data can create a multimedia wall integrating LED lights and multi-layer printed fabric from Asia. The festival ended with an inspiring performance from Prof. Vesna Petresin, with an award show and a closing ceremony.

We would like to thank the BEYOND team for broadening our horizons and connecting all professional groups working with digital technology and art!