Deep Space 8K: These are the Programme Highlights of the Festival

Last Supper_Titel_2000_1000, Last Supper Interactive, Credit: Ars Electronica: Magdalena Sick-Leitner

“Who Owns the Truth?” – The question of all questions, around which everything revolves this year at the Ars Electronica Festival from 6 to 10 September 2023, naturally does not stop at the entrance doors of Deep Space 8K in the Ars Electronica Center. In the immersive experience space, with a 16 x 9 metre wall and floor projection area, you can expect impressive image quality and colour brilliance paired with a massive sound system. Interactive games, high-resolution images and 3D applications are on the daily programme in Deep Space 8K. For the Ars Electronica Festival, our team has once again come up with a very special programme. We now reveal the absolute highlights in Deep Space 8K during the Ars Electronica Festival 2023!

Quest for Cosmic Truth, Credit: DanTell

The Quest for Cosmic Truth

Our highlights begin with a journey into the universe and in keeping with the festival theme “Who Owns the Truth“, Dan Tell (US), Manager of Planetarium Technology at the California Academy of Sciences, poses the question of “Cosmic Truth”. Since time immemorial, humanity has been observing the world around us and trying to figure out our place in the vast cosmos. Observers, philosophers, mathematicians and scientists have worked tirelessly to model and understand the universe. Each time a model was accepted, it was considered the accepted truth – until a new discovery shattered that certainty. Over time, thanks to our expanded research and discovery technologies and capabilities, we have discovered a universe that is larger and more mysterious than our ancestors could ever have imagined. But in exploring the smallest building blocks and origins of the cosmos, we also keep reaching our limits. The past century has brought groundbreaking discoveries and changes in our models of the universe, but it has also revealed new mysteries that we have not yet been able to solve. This raises the question of whether we are even capable of knowing the deepest truths of our cosmos. In short, it is a quest for cosmic truth that captivates us and keeps us constantly striving for answers. Dan Tell takes you on a quest for this truth in The Quest for Cosmic Truth.

Data Art & Science Project

Staying on the theme of science, our next programme highlight is more specifically about “Data Science” and the exploration of its application. In this context, we will discuss how data is used, for whom it is primarily intended, who owns it and how this novel, shared value can be linked to solutions for societal problems. In collaboration with Toyota Coniq Alpha in Japan, the Ars Electronica Futurelab is currently developing an exciting project called “Data Art & Science”. A new interdisciplinary field is emerging that combines artistic perspectives and the transformative power of data science. In this project, artists and data scientists will work closely together to develop exciting projects that embody data art & science. The immersive environment of Deep Space 8K will be used. This presentation will give you a first insight into this exciting project.

Homodyne, Credit: Friederike Weber


This project also deals with the topic of science, but combines this in a unique way in the form of a performance in art. The impressive performance “Homodyne” was created in collaboration between transdisciplinary artists from the Anton Bruckner Privat University (Institute of Dance Art), the Linz Art University (Interface Cultures) and scientists from the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information. This artistic performance impressively interprets central research questions of quantum physics and skilfully interweaves concepts of quantum systems with the movements of the artists. The audience is accompanied by a specially composed soundtrack that transports them into the fascinating world of quanta. “Homodyne” is more than just a performance, it is a captivating journey into the symbiosis of art and science that transcends the imagination and opens up new perspectives on the world.

Patrick and the Whale, Credit: Terra Mater Studios

Patrick and the Whale

Also about the connection between science and art, but on a completely different theme, is “Patrick and the Whale”. For years, Patrick Dykstra (US) has dedicated his life to travelling the globe to observe and dive with whales. Over the years he has learned how whales see and hear, how they perceive other creatures in the water and how they behave in close proximity. He has a fine sense and knows how to behave himself when approaching a whale – what to do and when not to do it. This enables him to get closer than any other living person – a truly unique ability.

On one of his recent dives, Patrick experienced a life-changing event: off the Caribbean island of Dominica, he had a close encounter with a female sperm whale. She seemed curious about him, came up close and pulsed him with her sonar. It seemed she was studying him as he studied her. Patrick had the overwhelming feeling that she was really trying to communicate.

In Patrick and the Whale, we follow Patrick as he travels once again to Dominica to find this special whale he has named “Dolores” so she can help him show us the hidden world of her species. Through stunning underwater footage, Patrick explores the fascinating nature of the sperm whale and attempts to shed light on its intelligence and complexity, as well as its present and past relationship with humans. The film follows his personal journey and explores the psychology of a man who sacrificed everything in his single-minded quest to connect with one of the ocean’s greatest creatures in order to understand it.

Venice Reealed, Credit: Ars Electronica: Magdalena Sick-Leitner

Venice Revealed

From here on we dive into the topic of art history. We travel to Venice – THE marvel of technology, architecture and art. For centuries, this beautiful city has been at war with the sea. It is both a merciless threat and a source of infinite wealth for this unique city, built on the unstable mud of a lagoon. Time and environmental influences have already left clear traces. Restoration efforts can only delay the decay, not stop it.

Thanks to modern technology, cultural treasures can at least be digitally preserved for posterity. In “Venice Revealed” by the Grand Palais Immersif and Iconem, you experience a fascinating 3D reconstruction of the city and discover it from a new perspective. Walking through walls and discovering what is hidden is the dream of all Venice lovers.

Last Supper Interactive, Credit: Ars Electronica – Magdalena Sick-Leitner


An incomparable cultural asset that could also be preserved digitally is “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci. “LAST SUPPER INTERACTIVE” by the renowned Italian media artist Franz Fischnaller enables a virtual immersion in Leonardo’s masterpiece. Explore the painting in 360 degrees from different angles and perspectives. When zooming in to one square millimetre, even the smallest details become visible in the ultra-high-resolution gigapixel image by Haltadefinizione. In addition, it is possible to penetrate the two-dimensional plane of the fresco and virtually go into and behind the famous painting. You have never seen the Last Supper like this before!

Mujer en azul / Pablo Picasso, 1901. © Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2023
Un mundo / Ángeles Santos, 1929. © Ángeles Santos, VEGAP, Madrid, 2023

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and as a Young Woman Too)

The presentation of Olga Sevillano Pintado (ES) and Raúl Martínez Arranz (ES) is also about paintings. Here we are literally immersed in the masterpieces of the Museo Reina Sofía. With the help of groundbreaking gigapixel technologies, we can zoom in on the smallest details of the artworks “Woman in Blue” (1901) by Pablo Picasso and “A World” (1929) by Ángeles Santos and explore every fine brushstroke. In an additional video, you will learn more about the cultural context in which these two young artists (they were not even 20 years old when the works were created) created these timeless works of art. It is about their unique lives and how gender issues played a crucial role in their artistic careers.

La Romería de san Isidro / GOYA Y LUCIENTES, FRANCISCO DE © Museo Nacional del Prado

Goya’s Truth

Another famous artist to be featured during the Ars Electronica Festival in Deep Space 8K is Francisco de Goya. Born in 1746, the artist received a traditional, academic education that built on the glorious eras of antiquity and the Renaissance. He mastered the language of painting that had evolved over centuries. His travels took him from Rome to Madrid, and through his close association with Spain’s royal collection, he became a royal painter and curator there. But Goya’s artistic interpretation of tradition soon proved refreshingly different. He brought an untamed depiction of human anatomy and a very personal approach to conventional subjects. Throughout his career, especially in his later works until the end of his life in 1828, he drew the viewer’s attention to situations of injustice and various forms of violence.

With a very personal touch, Goya revealed a reality that captivates us as viewers and makes us think. His art is a powerful invitation to interpret this truth in our own way. Goya’s works are a mirror of the time in which he lived, and at the same time timeless in their forcefulness and openness. They still captivate us today as they capture the complexity of the human condition in all its facets.
In “Goya’s Truth” you will experience ultra-high resolution images curated by Alejandro Vergara and Javier Pantoja Ferrari from Museo del Prado, especially for Deep Space 8K.

Of course, this was only a brief excerpt of our diverse programmes that we will be showing you during the Ars Electronica Festival from 6 to 10 September in Deep Space 8K at the Ars Electronica Center. Look forward to many more highlights!

Find out more about the highlights of the 2023 Ars Electronica Festival here. Details will be continuously published online.

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