Erzberg, located in Leoben in the Austrian State of Styria, is Central Europe’s largest open-pit mine, the most important ore-producing site in the Alps, a symbol of Austrian industrialization and the centerpiece of the historic Iron Road. Ore has been mined at Erzberg for over 1,300 years. The mountain began to take on its current appearance in 1890 with the introduction of stair-step-style open-pit extraction. This has made Erzberg a popular tourist attraction. VA Erzberg GmbH commissioned Ars Electronica Solutions to use digital technology to add depth to the visitor experience at this amazing place. The visitor experience at Erzberg is divided into two phases. Tour participants gather at the downhill visitors’ center, where a Hauly, a heavy-duty earth mover specially adapted for passenger transport, picks them up for their round-trip through the site. Ars Electronica Solutions conceived and installed multimedia infrastructure for both the visitors’ center and the Hauly.
“Ars Electronica’s contribution to Erzberg’s revamped visitors’ center is a total-immersion installation that employs computer animation to get visitors in the mood for their live Erzberg experience.” (Kleine Zeitung, May 19, 2017)
The centerpiece of the interactive installation in the downhill visitors’ center is a visualization of the changes wrought to Erzberg’s appearance by open-pit mining. The installation is operated by a touchscreen terminal; content then appears in dazzling 4K resolution. Depicted on the terminal’s screen is a timeline in the form of photos, which enables visitors to intuitively select a desired historical timeframe. Information about that epoch then appears on the touchscreen. The heavy-duty people movers are equipped with video screens, audio equipment and cameras. At especially interesting points along the tour, visitors can watch videos about what goes on there—for instance, blasting ore deposits. It’s also possible to bring up a feed from one of the four on-board cameras to view the ride through this breathtaking landscape from the perspective of one of the Hauly’s huge tires.
Project-Credits: Klaus Dietertorfer, Stefan Dorn, Christoph Hofbauer, Fadil Kujundzic, Pascal Maresch, Markus Wipplinger, Claus Zweythurm
Foto-Credits: Ars Electronica Solutions, Erzberg