The CONTACT ZONE responds in a multidimensional way to the different situations with the components light, vegetation, and encounter.
A rhythmic illumination in the cycles of the wind is the leitmotiv of our design. Wind-harvesting along the track captures and visualizes the airstream of passing trains. Animated, pulsating light strips and sound installations accompany the urban spaces along the track. Linear light elements are erected in front of the noise barriers and light up in the rhythm of the airflow, which is picked up by small microphones. Light intensity, orientation (to the green? To the people?) and relation to the surrounding urban space and react to different light conditions. For shaded places, as well as under bridges or in tunnels, we propose another, animated form of lighting, which also absorbs the energy of the Fahrtwind, but let it live on in the urban space as a source of light for people and plants animated. For this purpose, we propose compact, small-scale lighting installations that function according to the principle of cellular automata.
In this way, the lamps can carry the energy of the airstream profitably for people and plants into the urban space.
The lighting elements and installations should not only illuminate the urban space for people, but at the same time also enable and promote cryptogamous growth – algae, lichens, mosses – on the noise barriers, accompanying retaining walls, and the luminaires themselves. These bind huge amounts of carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the atmosphere and thus also positively influence the urban climate. The amount of nitrogen fixed by cryptogamic layers and thus supplied to the soil and other living organisms is equal to half of the nitrogen naturally fixed on land, which is particularly important for the development of ecosystems, as nitrogen is often the limiting nutrient component. They are therefore extremely effective in the smallest area of urban space.
The proposal was made by a team Green Noise, Berlin (Ursula Damm), Dr. Klaus Fritze, Rudolph Langner – Station C23 – Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Andreas Hecker (Bauhaus University Weimar), Felix Bonowski.
Art installation by Ursula Damm and Felix Bonowski, 2021
Curator: Yvonne Volkart
Commissioned for the Flux building by Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Technique: Two channel projection; one based on live camera footage and neural network learning rules; simulation based on Perlin noise, Navier Stokes-Solver, reaction diffusion kinetics parameterized with live measurements of Oxygen content, temperature, turbidity.
Kontinuum is a generative 2 channel projection based on live data of the Chriesbach, a rivulet flowing alongside the Institute of Water Research. The two projections represent a certain mode of “reality” of the Chriesbach and its flux throughout the year. Both translate data of seasonal variations, color patterns and physical principles of the stream into sensual images that associate impressionist and Japanese painting. By bringing the outside into the inside, the water into the Flux building, the object of observation to the site of its investigation, the installation reflects the Kontinuum of the stream and the function of the house in an aesthetic way.
The colored projection collects images of the Chriesbach stream and its inhabitants. Real time images of three cameras are passed through a graphics shader which is based on classical neural network learning rules that “remember” colors in areas of high activity. The resulting video is a collage of combined aspects of the streams’ visual appearance from different times and viewing angles. With their daily changes they serve as a kind of aesthetic weather report.
The black and white projection is a live simulation of a fluid meandering through a rock-strewn valley. Based on an ecosystem of nutrients, primary producers, and grazing microorganisms of the stream, it manifests digitally “how the world would look like, if nature followed these rules”. The formulas that govern the shape of the landscape, the dynamics of flow, and the evolution of life in the simulation are parameterized with values derived from actual real-time measurements of physical water properties. The measurements are performed by a station operated by the research institute just a few meters from where the cameras look onto the stream. Correspondences between measurements and model parameters are chosen so that seasonal changes (in temperature), daily rhythms (in oxygen saturation from photosynthesis) and occasional events (turbidity caused by thunderstorms and construction work) leave their traces in the graphics. Transforming from a valley with a few large boulders to a (virtual) riverbed with many small pebbles, from one emergent biological pattern into another, from a slowly meandering flow into a violent gusher, the simulation reveals itself as a being in permanent flux.
At the right border of each projection, the image logic of the other projection intervenes, so that the color-data of the live stream and the patterns of the black and white simulation intersect: contrasty movements in the colored projection (e.g. reflections of light or swimming leaves) become lines, scratches and holes in the black and white one. They appear as forces, which wipe out organic life and destroy the image. Thus, it becomes clear, that no image and no “reality” stand for themselves, rather they can be questioned, disrupted, or interpreted by manifold approaches.
On the front wall of the Schadowstrasse underground station, an LED wall displays a generative video. In front of the wall, a light shaft extends to the surface of the plaza where a video camera is set up. The camera continuously films passing pedestrians on the plaza and streams the feed to a specially developed generative software application (coded by Felix Bonowski) which derives proposed geometries for structures based on the movement patterns of the pedestrians. These interpretations of the real-time video generate new geometries for the location and propose axes and parcels.
Two elevators, to the left and right of the large video image, lead from the plaza to the rail platform.
Pattern drawings on aerial photos of Düsseldorf, Schadowstrasse
Turnstile (Drehkreuz) from resoutionable on Vimeo. On the platform, the geometric structures can be heard as a sound interpretation (by Yunchul Kim). At the centre of the artistic intervention is the video image and its artistic concept. The concept is reflected in the design of the entrance areas. Plates are inserted in the blue glass of the underground station at 21 locations, which display geometries over districts of Düsseldorf.
In the east concourse is the aerial image of the city of Düsseldorf that was analysed according to the geometric concept.
As excerpts from this aerial picture, 16 locations in Düsseldorf were interpreted at the level of a local aerial image. These urban areas were described with regular polygons as energy centres which fitted themselves together through the development of the city architecture (see the text on the concept of the generated patterns).
The fine structure of the patterns juxtaposes both the sensibility of nature and the human, formative gestures against the massive edifice, calling to mind a mode of formation that creates sweeping interconnections through the symbiotic organisation of a multitude of individual elements. In doing so, this formative process completes the social principle through which individuals experience their effect on the whole.
The pattern drawings are generated in slow steps: First a line drawing is created over the image of the city. As this progresses, important motion axes of traffic and pedestrians are emphasised. The areas these axes enclose become polygons. At this point, the angles of the lines and axes are examined in the search for whole-number fractions of regular polygons.
The smallest polygon integrating all of the symmetries at the location (for instance, five-angled and four-angled fragments would be assembled into a 20-sided polygon) is then used to describe an intersection.
A subsequent step is the search for connections (network) between large neighbouring polygons.
Work with the aerial images revealed that the city centre has very small polygons, while outer areas have a significantly more expansive structure. Thus, density is indicated by the presence of small polygons and complex symmetries. Often, the transition from non-rectangles to rectangles can indicate historical breaks in the urban landscape. In this way, the interpretations represent a study of the settlement and planning history of the city.
The sound installation
The generative video installation interprets traces of movement created by geometric “agents.” The activity of these agents is translated into sounds which track the visual artefacts. As such, the sounds form the noise that the virtual artefacts generate in their world, and thus represent and extended artistic “level of reality” of the installation.
Select a location (origin)
Determine the movement axes of people and traffic
Look to see if these axes are at angles to one another, which when mirrored and rotated can form a polygon, the sides of which all extend outward equally
Draw this polygon to approximate the natural geometry of the location
Look to see if, starting from this, the intrinsic geometries of the location can form a surface structure, (tessellation) that periodically repeats the original geometries
Determine whether and how, in the aerial image of the location, the areas fit together in the revealed geometry of the place
Enhance existing structures by developing their geometries
Connect existing structures into the logic of the original geometry
Konzept: Ursula Damm Programmierung: Felix Bonowski Sound: Yunchul Kim
Based on an anonymous, nationwide competition, “Überflug” and a sound installation by Rolf Julius were proposed for being realized on the campus of the Brandenburg University of Cottbus.
Pigeon lofts are to be installed for the departmental gardens on campus, to the left of the main axis. In the middle of these pigeon lofts, a virtual fountain is to be installed, in which a video can be seen instead of water. This fountain is the spatial and mental center of the work. In it, the trajectories of the pigeons are recorded and made visible over longer time intervals. The structure of these trajectories is intended to show a model image of the coexistence of the animals and offers the opportunity to compare our behavior with them.
In consultation with a pigeon fanciers’ association located in Cottbus, I designed a two-story tower suitable for racing pigeon breeding. The presence of pigeon fanciers is to combine university life and research with the experience of folk traditions. Unlike the city pigeon, breeding pigeons are highly civilized. The whole effort of the breeder is devoted to the health and fitness of his pigeons, with the aim of achieving good flight results. To encourage the pigeons to return home quickly, they are separated from each other – young married (widowhood). The drive to quickly return to the female not only makes pigeons fly thousands of kilometers unerringly, but sometimes leads to life-threatening states of exhaustion. The way pigeon breeders deal with these characteristics speaks of long experience and contrasts the abstract thinking of the natural sciences.To give insight into the dynamics of the pigeon loft, these are glazed on two sides. In addition, the breeding and flight results of the pigeons in races are to be made public on a bulletin board. The trajectories of the flights are shown on a map.
First draft for the pigeon loft:
Interior design of the loft:
In consultation with a pigeon fanciers’ association located in Cottbus, I designed a two-story tower suitable for racing pigeon breeding. The presence of pigeon fanciers is to combine university life and research with the experience of folk traditions. Unlike the city pigeon, breeding pigeons are highly civilized. The whole effort of the breeder is devoted to the health and fitness of his pigeons, with the aim of achieving good flight results. To encourage the pigeons to return home quickly, they are separated from each other – young married (widowhood). The drive to quickly return to the female not only makes pigeons fly thousands of kilometers unerringly, but sometimes leads to life-threatening states of exhaustion. The way pigeon breeders deal with these characteristics speaks of long experience and contrasts the abstract thinking of the natural sciences.To give insight into the dynamics of the pigeon loft, these are glazed on two sides. In addition, the breeding and flight results of the pigeons in races are to be made public on a bulletin board. The trajectories of the races are shown on a map.
A special computer software (already available) calculates the positions of the pigeons from the image and writes their trajectories into the video image in real time. Over the day a line drawing is created from the traces of the pigeons, which with its (chaotic) structure questions the surrounding architecture according to its order (rectangular) for its compatibility with the geometry of the natural movement of the birds. The birds, which are not fixed in their directions of movement by paths, benches or buildings, refer here to a freedom beyond the structures given on the site. At the same time, the work should stimulate us to question our planning and systems of order and – depending on the possibility of cooperation with the university – propose a model for spatial order from data obtained through observation. What takes place above the pigeon lofts reports not only random trajectories, but also swarm behavior and the group dynamics of the pigeon lofts. It is worth noting here the comparison between the almost mysterious order of flocks of birds and the frequent collisions of people in massed gatherings. Ultimately, the work with the dove takes up a symbol (dove of peace) found in numerous older murals on campus. While there the dove is understood as a metaphor, it now becomes the object of consideration in its concrete function. top
The grounds of the BTU represent a staged living and working space for students and staff. The microchip grid of pathways and building layout speaks of meaningful order and purposefulness. The garden area offers relaxation in this landscape and also provides the departments with the opportunity for individual design. Nature as a counterpart, but also an object of technology is to be made increasingly tangible here. Adding animals to the plants is one idea. While the trees emphasize the rootedness in the earth, the birds connect with the sky. It would also have been possible to observe the movement of people and translate it into a virtual landscape. However, the environment of the site is so defining that the movements would only be seen in response to buildings or created attractors (benches). Observing the pigeons gives visitors a view of social group structures, whereby swarm behavior and population behavior take up a highly topical subject in computer science (reference microchip) and could be the starting point for a problem definition of a collaboration. Thus, an architecture could be developed from the traces by adaptive algorithms, which translates the territorial behavior of the birds into spatial constructs. These spatial systems could become the occasion for further planning on the campus site. (The software to track the trajectories already exists as well as the implementation as a graphical interface. It would be desirable to do further work on the software in the sense described above with the BTU FB Mathematics or Computer Science).