That's why we are so fascinated by technology

We experiment, develop and tell stories with technology. The first part of Ars Electronica's 2022 Year in Review shows how.

Swarm robotics up close

Drones merging to a digital canvas or painting with light: An Ars Electronica Futurelab workshop showcased the art of swarm robotics.

Spaxel in Dubai
Throwback: Spaxels

Spaxels are autonomous drones that can be moved freely in space to form dynamic, three-dimensional figures in the night sky.

Inside Futurelab 25th Anniversary Series
Art Thinking

There are difficult questions waiting for creative answers

Inside Ars Electronica Futurelab: 25th Anniversary Series
Humanity and Robotinity

A society that is changing along with its technology needs a new form of humanity

Inside Ars Electrnica Futurelab: 25th Anniversary Series
The Art of Swarms

The Spaxels were just the beginning of a long journey into the future of the Ars Electronica Futurelab

SwarmOS: Using swarm technology as a visual medium

Groundbots, swarm intelligence and technological swarms as a visual medium: At the “SwarmOS Research Demo” at the 2019 Ars Electronica Festival (Sept. 5 – 9), the Ars Electronica Futurelab is presenting insights into the in-house developed software SwarmOS – as well as hands-on application examples.

Swarm Intelligence and Art: The artistic vision behind Swarm Arena

A modern-day alchemist, electromagnetic Folklore instruments and display-carrying groundbots: The artistic vision behind the Swarm Arena performance at Miraikan, Tokyo, in July 2019 shaped a spectacle bordering on magic. Here, we hear from participating artists Akiko Nakayama and Ei Wada – and find out which elements of Swarm Arena to expect at this year’s Ars Electronica Festival.

Swarm Control: The Future of Firefighting

Rosenbauer and Ars Electronica Futurelab take a look into the future of the fire brigade: Together with artists, scientists and designers of the laboratory, the fire-fighting equipment supplier is now conducting research into the swarm control of autonomous vehicles.

The Busy Bees at Ars Electronica

Anyone who’s walked all the way upstairs at the Ars Electronica Center lately is sure to have already discovered them—Ars Electronica’s busy bees. Now, a webcam delivers live images of the hives and their approximately 200,000 industrious inhabitants. We recently met with Harald Wohlschlager, the beekeeper in charge of this project, and learned some things worth knowing about bees.

A Tinkerer, Two Designers and hundreds of Drones: How Swarm3D Came To Be

“And then, fortunately, the birds didn’t fall out of the sky,” said Michael Treml in a terse summary of the outcome of work over many months by an Ars Electronica Futurelab team at Rock in Rio 2017, the first public SPAXELS® drone show using Swarm3D software developed in-house in Linz. We were interested in finding out what this program can actually do and why this Futurelab custom creation is now also available as a plug-in for 3ds Max?

Humanising Autonomy: A Language for Self-Driving Cars

How do we as pedestrians want to communicate with the autonomous autos that will soon be driving around our cities? Now is the best time to give some thought to this question, according to the staff of Humanising Autonomy, a project that was honored with a 2017 STARTS Prize and is now collaborating with, among other partners, Daimler Mercedes Benz.

Swarm Compass: A Sea Change in Visualizing Events by Swarm Intelligence

What are the possibilities of swarm intelligence? How can drones be used to make transportation and communications easier? The Ars Electronica Futurelab is working together with Japanese telecommunications company NTT to find answers. In this interview, Hideaki Ogawa of Ars Electronica Futurelab and Shingo Kinshita of NTT tell us about their efforts.

Spaxels Research Initiative – Swarms of the Future

How to deal with networks of intelligent, autonomous robots raises many questions that the Spaxels Research Initiative aims to formulate and pose.

SPAXELS rock in Rio - A test run near Linz

This years edition of the mega rock festival ROCK IN RIO will be the first to wow its audience with an illuminated swarm of drones. But before the Ars Electronica Spaxels® can enchant a one-million-plus of people between September 15th and 24th, a three-day marathon rehearsal was staged in Upper Austria over the last Week in March.

Sky Compass: Going Beyond Navigation by the Stars

As Tokyo will be facing the challenge of hosting a huge influx of tourists in 2020, NTT, Japan's biggest Telecommunication company, and Ars Electronica Futurelab are working on a sky compass to guide the people.

Social Communication Technologies towards 2020

For the Japanese enterprise NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) all signs are pointing towards 2020. The giant in telecommunication and Ars Electronica Futurelab as a forray collaboratively developed two pilot projects which were up to guide the visitors of the Ars Electronica Festival 2016 in a stunning fashion.

DRONE 100 - Spaxels Over Linz: Test Flight in the Mühlviertel

“DRONE 100 –Spaxels over Linz” is the title of a spectacular quadcopter swarm performance that Ars Electronica and Intel are staging on September 10th, 2016. Before the 100 drones make their European public debut above the Danube they’ll be subjected to a rigorous physical exam. The first two test flights already took place this week—the quadcopters lifted off from a secluded field in Mühlviertel, the rural area north of Linz, and put on quite a show (that not too many people got to see).

Spaxels Drone100 Intel Festival Linz 2016
Around the World via Quadcopter

A spectacular Spaxels show will be the lead-in to the 2016 Klangwolke, Linz’s annual outdoor extravaganza. The DRONE 100 crew has already made a name for itself worldwide; now, the record-setting quadcopter formation of the Ars Electronica Futurelab and Intel™ Corporation is making its European debut. Here, Chris Bruckmayr and Andreas Jalsovec talk about some of the exotic airspaces they’ve flown through over the course of their Spaxels career.

DRONE 100 in Linz: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

This will be the first public appearance in Europe of the world’s largest autonomous drone swarm. Just before the Visualisierte Klangwolke in September 2016, the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s 100 Spaxels will display their aerial artistry in Linz. Here, Chris Bruckmayr and Andreas Jalsovec of the Spaxels crew talk about all the preparations and work that goes into such a performance.

Drone 100: A World Record with 100 Points

A spectacle produced by the Ars Electronica Futurelab for Intel has made it into the record books! In a performance showcased by a promotional film for the world-famous chip maker, 100 spaxels took to the sky simultaneously. Team spirit is what it took to get this ambitious demonstration of technical brilliance off the ground.

The Spaxels at the Eurovision Song Contest

This is the ultimate extravaganza! With over 195 million viewers, the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest will be one of the world’s biggest televised events. Among the featured attractions—albeit with only half a minute of air time—are the Spaxels of the Ars Electronica Futurelab in Linz.

Spaxels in Dubai

Accompany the Ars Electronica Futurelab crew on a business trip to Dubai. At a spectacular nighttime event staged to celebrate the United Arab Emirates’ 43rd National Day on December 1, 2014, the Spaxels, a swarm of LED-equipped quadcopters, got a very enthusiastic reception.

Smart Atoms

Flying Smart Atoms that are able to respond to touches by humans? The Ars Electronica Futurelab presented a significant development of the Spaxels during the 2014 Festival Ars Electronica.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Spaxels

Ars Electronica Futurelab staffers have been doing R&D since 2012 on what they’ve dubbed Spaxels (space pixels). At the Spaxels Concept Demo members of the spaxels crew will go into detail about what makes the Spaxel-swarm work and illustrate what they’ve achieved to date.

The Sky above Sharjah

The spaxels’ world tour continues. In “Clusters of Light,” an extravaganza just staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s crew took their prodigious show design talents to the next level of excellence, and their choreographed formation of LED-equipped quadcopters thrilled audiences of thousands. Here, Chris Bruckmayr gives us a behind-the-scenes account.

Lightpainting with Spaxels

The Spaxels, the 3d-Pixels that the Ars Electronica Futurelab has created based on quadcopter-technology, have proven their skills to paint logos and animations into the sky a number of times. Currently, the next step is being tested, and it looks amazing.

The Future Rock Show - A Beginning

The Festival Ars Electronica is a place to test out new ways. The Future Rock Show is one of those tests, introducing a new form of discussion. This is it's story.

Modus Operandi 1
In Search Of Lost Time...

Harmeet Chagger-Khan, expert for digital film and media, was working for 8 weeks at the Ars Electronica Futurelab as part of a residency-program. This is her story during those 8 weeks.

Murmuration at the Bergen International Festival

Murmuration, the opening-show of the Bergen International Festival, that has been developed both by phase 7 and the Ars Electronica Futurelab, premiered on May 22nd. Check out pictures and videos of the show below, or the interview with Sven Beyer, creative director of phase 7.