Creating Novel Cultural Experience

Encode and decode meaning

Poetic systems transform different kinds of knowledge, cognition and perception into poetic levels of meaning – to allow hidden treasures to emerge

Inside Futurelab: 25th Anniversary Series – Episode 2 – Poetic Systems

Hidden treasures

Enabling transformation

The transformation of levels of knowledge, cognition and perception into poetic levels of meaning has always been a central theme in art—it is thus possible to make the invisible visible, the intangible tangible, to encode and decode meanings. With the means of art and artistic research, knowledge is generated—in this way, the components of systems are made comprehensible on an emotional and cognitive level. Art and its means of expression enable us to experience the interrelationships of meaning of the natural and artificial systems surrounding us, for us and our society. Artistic works—Poetic Systems—transform systems not accessible to us into a new level of meaning. They speak a sensual-emotional language and create them through their immediate, aesthetic appearance: free space.

New Levels of Meaning


Das Rheingold - Visionized

A virtual environment that completely enveloped the audience. The computer-controlled scenery followed Wagner’s work and reflected the interpretation of the musicians in the form of dynamic structures that embodied the opera’s characters and settings.

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Le Sacre du Printemps

A 3D space generated by musical impulses creates the framework for a narrative structure that is, in this particular case, also coupled with another means of expression: dance.

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Quell.Code (eng. Source.Code) is an interactive visitors’ guidance system designed especially for SAP Deutschland’s new corporate campus in Walldorf. The project’s works of media art combine aesthetic and functional excellence.A media art guidance system, that sets up a dialog between nature and culture —that is, human beings and architecture—and simultaneously opens up a lively, individualized way of looking at SAP’s business and information processes.

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AEC Facade Terminal

The facade of the new Ars Electronica Center is equipped with LED panes which can be used in various ways to create art. A public terminal allows the general public control over the façade, enabling them to be co-creators, or even to hand over the creation process to them.

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An interactive art installation designed for the new terminal at Vienna International Airport. It creates real-time interpretations of arriving and departing flights. ZeitRaum consists of a series of stations that accompany departing passengers on their way to their gates.

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Building Bridges

An interactive music piece, jointly composed with Vienna-based composer Rupert Huber. Translating the movements of the pedestrians through a compositional algorithm, The Bridge serves as stage and instrument at the same time.

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more projects


“[The research area] Poetic Systems tries to regain the lost balance between nature and technology and looks for possibilities with the means of art to make technology positively usable for us as a society and for our environment.”

Stefan Mittlböck-Jungwirth-Fohringer
Key Researcher at Ars Electronica Futurelab

Born in 1977 in Linz, Austria. Artist, producer, and researcher. Trained as an electrician. Studied painting and graphics at the University of Art and Design Linz. Member of the Ars Electronica Futurelab since 2001. Key researcher for Poetic Systems.

Stefan Mittlböck-Jungwirth-Fohringer

Credit: Denise Hirtenfelder

Dietmar Offenhuber

Credit: Dietmar Offenhuber

“How does a project need to be configured so that it bears actual relevance in the world? This characterizes the kind of transdisciplinary collaboration that seems most important to me.”

Dietmar Offenhuber

Born in 1973 in Linz, Austria. Artist and researcher. Member of the Ars Electronica Futurelab from 1995 until 2004. PhD in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studies at MIT Media Lab and the Vienna University of Technology. Associate professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy, and visiting associate professor at Princeton University.

“In my spatial and installation work, I like to use direct interactivity to turn social encounters into music, to explore the possibilities of communication in a given space, and to work with music originating from the people living or working there. Collaborations with Ars Electronica Futurelab exactly match this approach.”

Rupert Huber

Born in 1967 in Mödling, Lower Austria. Composer, music artist, and musician. Since 1994, electronic-music project "Tosca" together with Richard Dorfmeister. Music installations since 1995, including "Building Bridges" together with the Ars Electronica Futurelab in 2015.

Rupert Huber

Credit: tom mesic

Dennis Russel Davis

Credit: Florian Voggeneder

“I had the strong impression that the music and the visual performance could continue to exist independently of each other, but that together they blended to create a form that effectively communicated sophisticated new sounds and images to a receptive and new audience.”

Dennis Russell Davies
Chief conductor of the MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig

Born in 1944 in Toledo, Ohio, US. Conductor and pianist. Chief conductor of the Bruckner Orchester Linz and the Musiktheater Linz from 2002 to 2017. Work with numerous institutions and orchestras, including the Bayreuther Festspiele, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Metropolitan Opera, and the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien. Music director and chief conductor of the Filharmonie Brno since 2018 and chief conductor of the MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig since 2020.

“The Ars Electronica Futurelab is like a marketplace of several different laboratories. The people of the Futurelab do not simply work like an agency would. They first ask themselves, does this topic fit for the Futurelab. It is always an adventurous journey and extensive experience to work with them.”

Karsten Koch

Born in 1967 in Ratingen, Germany. Engineer. Chief project expert, Strategic Finance Projects SAP SE.

Karsten Koch

Credit: Karsten Koch

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