Creative AI showcased in futuristic Cube on German Unity Day.

Artificial intelligence is brimming with creative energy—visitors to Baden-Württemberg’s Cube can tell. Part of the German Unity Day 30th anniversary celebrations, the digital art installation Grenzauflösung (roughly, dissolving borders) located in the heart of Potsdam feeds visitors’ imagination as it blurs the lines between reality and art, showcasing the state’s progressive and innovative clout. The project is supported by AI company, Colugo—a Bechtle partner and member of the Cyber Valley Start-Up Network.

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Can AI really help to create masterpieces? It certainly can in Baden-Württemberg’s Cube at the EinheitsEXPO happening in Potsdam’s Hegelallee until 4 October. With its 10 m² vivid video wall, visitors can’t miss the installation among the 30 pavilions set up along the three and a half kilometre long exhibition, giving pause to many cyclists and pedestrians as they pass to view the digital artistry, silently performing a kind of mime act in front of the Cube as, at first, it seems like they are they masters—changing the brushstrokes with each movement they make. But then, as if by an invisible hand, all the colours change until a completely new style is revealed. One interpretation blending seamlessly into the another, creating unique images from one moment to the next that take on a particularly impressive flair as the sun sets. This is AI at its creative best. What visitors don’t see are the highly complex computing processes running in the background. A NVIDIA super computer—provided by Bechtle to Colugo—processing millions of pieces of information in the fraction of a second. It’s fitting then that the Cube has been nicknamed Käpsele, a regional term for a smart cookie.

 

Neural networks interweave visual information.

What all of the visitors to the Cube want to know is what exactly is going on. A high-performance camera sends everything it sees in front of the LG video wall to a super computer, which processes the images using neural networks that interweave the pictures with characteristics of different styles such as Expressionism, fractal, architecture and liquid art. Visual information for each of these styles was taken from the internet and fed into the system to train it so it can interact with the outside world and deliver aesthetically authentic results.

 

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Intuitive and playful on the one side. Informative on the other. Going round to the back of the Cube, visitors can learn, for example, that Baden-Württemberg’s Cyber Valley Initiative is not only Germany’s most important AI research and development hub, but is also a European leader in the field. In this highly dynamic environment, the 4-strong Colugo team develops AI solutions for enterprises and also doubles as the Lunar Ring art group.

If visitors would like read further information about the economic and social impact of AI, QR codes placed around the Cube refer them to kreative-ki.de—a platform run by Colugo and Bechtle. Those who are unable to make the journey to Potsdam shouldn’t despair as the website also carries a live stream of the installation—anywhere at any time. Another wonderful aspect of artistic AI.  

 

Alongside the federal states, constitutional bodies such as the houses of parliament and Federal government and other institutions are also represented at EinheitsEXPO. For reasons of hygiene, this exhibition is being held instead of the originally planned public festival which was expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors. The highlight of the festivities will be a ceremony led by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to be broadcast live on ARD on 3 October.

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Published on Sep 11, 2020.