Ars Electronica Center
The Ars Electronica Center (AEC) is a center for electronic arts run by Ars Electronica situated in Linz, Austria, at the northern side of the Danube opposite the city hall of Linz. It has been built on the right side of the Nibelungenbrücke.
The building is also known as the "Museum of the Future" and is one of the most important sights in Linz. The most modern techniques from the technology sector are presented to the museum's many visitors. The museum has six floors filled with creative work from hi-tech laboratories all over the world.
The top of the AEC is called the "Sky Media Loft", which is mainly used as a coffee house or bar of the museum. It can also be rented out for meetings or events. The bar has occasionally been used as the studio for the Newscast of the local TV branch of the Austrian national TV organization ORF. The speciality of the "Sky Media Loft" is the marvellous view over the Nibelungenbrücke and the main place of Linz at the other side of the Danube which functions as background of the Newscasts.
The second floor is also the floor where people can "Get in Touch" with the exhibits. There are Musicbottles filled with different sorts of music or Pingpongplus which is a Ping-Pong game on a desk with virtual Water on its surface waiting for the visitor to be explored. The first floor offers the world that had been hidden from our eyes. In the "Hidden Worlds" various machines are translating our voice and our words into virtual symbols or colours and everyday life articles can be moved on a screen if they are touched.
The little room between the first and the ground floor one of the main attractions is offered. The flight simulator "Humphrey" allows to dive into a world only made up by bits and bytes. The virtual reality goggle gives the user the right view of the flight and the person taking the trip is connected to the computer by cables fixed all over the body. It is possible to fly everywhere and to see the movements of the hands, feet and the landscape if the visitor raises the head or looks down.
The entrance or the so-called "Login Gateway" of the museum is on the ground floor and leads the newcomer directly to the Telegarden where a robot is looking after a flower patch. Every ticket is provided with a bar code that gives information about the time the visitor stepped into the museum. After the visit the ticket can be put into a computer near the Exit and it gives statistic information about the things that happened in the world during the span of the stay in the AEC. The List that is printed out gives information about how many people died or were born during that time or how many accidents have been caused by drunken drivers.
The last floor is called "Virtual Reality" and it can be found in the basement of the building. The CAVE is another attraction of the museum. The cube with 3 meters side length is used as a screen to project the virtual world. There are always groups of about 10 that dive into a world were no physically laws do not have any meaning. Additionally, the 3D eyeglasses give the impression of a bodyful environment.
The new Ars Electronica Center, which was designed by Treusch architecture ZT GmbH, opened its doors on January 2, 2009 after roughly two years of construction work and an approximate cost of 30 million Euros. It now has 3000 square meters for exhibitions, 100m2 for research and development, 400m2 for workshops and conferences, 650m2 for catering and another 1000m2 square meters of public space for various types of events, e.g. Red Bull Upside Down on February 12, 2010.
The new AEC consists of the original building, a new "twin-tower", the main exhibition hall called "Main Gallery" and the new space for the Ars Electronica Futurelab. The whole building is covered with a 5000 square meter glass skin that consists of 1100 glass panels. Each panel is equipped with an LED Bar that allows to change its color. Therefore the whole building acts as a giant display. Artists can create their own visualisations which will be shown on various occasions, especially during the Festival Ars Elecronica. The restaurant is located at the third floor of the new building and is calles CUBUS, referring to the buildings's cubic shape
With the new building came a new thematic orientation inside of Ars Electronica. Life sciences, global developments (e.g. climate change, population growth, environmental pollution) and the exploration of the universe are just a view of various new topics. The museum can be separated into the following areas:
Main Gallery with approximately 1000 square meters houses the main exhibition called "New Views of Humankind", which focuses on topics like biotechnology, robotics, rapid prototyping and the human body. It is separated into the following four so-called "Labs":
- Brain-Lab: This area focuses on the human brain, perception and advances in medicine.
- Bio-Lab: In this Lab, the focus lies on biotechnology and its applications.
- Fab-Lab: This Lab deals with new possibilities offered by 3D printers and rapid prototyping.
- Robo-Lab: As the name suggests, this Lab deals with robotica as well as different prothetic systems.
Main Gallery contains a special area for children which is not thematically connected to the main exhibition.
Geo City focuses on global developments caused by humankind, like growth in population and the extraction of natural resources. Those global developments are connected with possible local reactions, which is visualized in an interactive City Information System called Sim-Linz.
Artists, Creators, Engineers
This is the area for temporary exhibitions consisting of the first and second floor of the original building and focuses on the interdisciplinary aspects of Ars Electronica and its contributors. Detailed informations about current and future exhibitions can be found at the official web site.
The Deep Space is a multifunctional presentation room that offers a wide range of possibilities. It consists of two walls (front and floor) with dimensions of 16:9 meters which serve as screens for 8 Galaxy NH-12 projectors by Barco. The range of projects ranges from high-resolution videos to scientific (3D) visualisations like a flight out from the solar system to the whole known universe and artistic projects. Dates of special events involving Deep Space presentations can be found at the official web site.
Opening hours, guides, fees and guided tours
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 am - 5 pm
- Thursday: 9 am - 9 pm
- Saturday, Sunday: 10 0am - 6 pm
- Monday closed (except public holidays)
For those who are frightened to be faced with a world too complex and confusing, there are "Infotrainers" to help visitors through the exhibits. The "Infotrainers" are not machines, but humans who can answer questions immediately and show visitors around more than 3000 square meters of exhibition area.
The entrance fee, as of 2010, is 7€ for adults and 4€ price for children and others eligible for reduced fees. A full-year pass is available as well and is priced 25€ full and 15€ discounted. Discounts for families and groups are available as well. More information can be found at the official web site.
Guided tours are offered every day, with starting times at 11 am and 2 pm. Custom tours can be booked appointed at different times and in various other languages. More information about guided tours and bookings can be found at the official web site.
The same building holds the Ars Electronica FutureLab, a place for researching and trying out new cyberarts technologies. See also the Prix Ars Electronica, a yearly award ceremony given out by Ars Electronica at their cyberarts festival. Since 2004, one of the awards at the Prix Ars Electronica brings a young innovator or team of innovators to the FutureLab for a summer to develop a budding idea or technology in electronic media.
- Van Uffelen, Chris. Contemporary Museums - Architecture, History, Collections, Braun Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-3-03768-067-4, pages 144-145.
- Official AEC Site
- Sky Media Loft (March 2007)
- rejected competition entry for the new AEC
- Official Barco Site