Researching deep into the Night

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The title met the program: During the “Long Night of Research” on FRI April 4, 2014, the Ars Electronica Center and the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz opend their doors late into the night for a highly interested audience from young to old. 1.123 visitors took the opportunity between 5 PM and 11 PM to get to know about various research fields in presentations and tours at first hand from experts.

Experts of the Department Secure Information Systems at University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria Campus Hagenberg answered many late-breaking questions of internet users: How is it still possible to surf anonymously on the internet? Is it not enough to protect only my laptop against viruses, but my smartphone, too? And what about my password – are my emails or my bank account thereby adequately protected? A perfect environment for these kind of lectures offered the exhibition “Out of Control” at the Ars Electronica Center that addresses exactly these issuses all year long.

Especially when it comes to the safety of your own personal information or even your own pictures, videos and contacts that are stored on one of many digital clouds, many visitors felt good to talk about these topics offline with people who are related to these issues. The visitors were able to get an idea for a more conscious use of digital data. For free.

While adults explored their online behavior, kids tried to unlock a numerical code on a special security paper…

… or they challenged mom and grandma in a very special “pulling the rope”. While one family pulled at one end of the rope of “Rope in Space” at the Ars Electronica Center another family put their hands on the rope, several kilometres away from Linz.

The research facility of Ars Electronica, the Futurelab, and presented its current works initially in Deep Space. “What will the ‘future rock show’ look like?” Kristefan Minski spoke about this issue – he deals among other things with the interdisciplinary research of new entertaining participation scenarios.

In which beautiful forms art and technology can melt together, showed the presentation of the project “Spaxels”. Futurelab employee Andreas Jalsovec talked about this famous project in Deep Space. The bright quadrocopters of the Ars Electronica Futurelab caused a sensation worldwide since its premiere at the Linz Klangwolke 2012. Last year they performed magic into the night sky of London with the Star Trek logo, this year they fly several times in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates during the opening ceremonies of the Islamic Capital of Culture 2014. And a month earlier they accompanied visually the opening of the European Capital of Culture in Umea, Sweden.

What if a swarm of flying robots could draw pictures in the sky? How to turn an airport into an interactive work of art? Other staff members of the Ars Electronica Futurelab, Peter Holzkorn and Veronika Pauser, talked in another presentation of the research facility in the heart of Linz.

A special highlight was an exclusive tour through the offices of the Futurelab, which are normally closed for the public and where disciplines such as media art, architecture, design, interactive exhibits, virtual reality and real-time graphics have a home.

In the Ars Electronica Center next door the “Long Night of Research” went on with a manifold program. The visitors were able to get a small trace of how gigantic our universe is in Deep Space every hour. “Uniview” took them to unimaginably distant galaxies in 3-D. Back on Earth Infotrainers guided the visitors through the exhibition “Project Genesis“, which introduced them to the topic of synthetic biology in detail through the lens of art.

All in all, a successful Long Night of Research, were not only Ars Electronica was involved but other locations such as universities, colleges, non-university research institutions, educational scientific institutions and well-known companies. Even for the employees of the Ars Electronica, it was an enriching experience once again to come into direct contact with the people and to be able to even give them suggestions back explore to the world and their own environment.

Group picture at the end: FH-Prof. Univ.-Doz. DI Dr. Ingrid Schaum├╝ller-Bichl of Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences Campus Hagenberg (2nd from left), FH-Prof. DI Robert Kolmhofer from the Department Secure Information Systems of Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences Campus Hagenberg (4th from left), Mag.a Doris Hummer, Member of the Upper Austrian Government (3rd from right) and Head of Ars Electronica Center Christoph Kremer (2nd from right).

Photos: Florian Voggeneder