LUNETA will connect Wroclaw and Berlin
in real time
Luneta Opening in Wroclaw 09.05.2016
Luneta Opening in Berlin 09.05.2016
The original aim of the Berlin-based forum for civic responsibility known as Stiftung Zukunft Berlin was to bring the two cities of Wroclaw and Berlin closer together, and this initiative provided the impetus for the idea behind LUNETA 2016, which was conceived by author and director Volkmar Umlauft as early as the summer of 2013. The project involves an enclosed space set up in each of the two cities into which visitors can enter and find themselves transported virtually to the other city.
The ultimate result of their combined efforts is LUNETA 2016, a walk-in multimedia installation whose metaphorical function is to mimic a “Luneta”, the Polish word for telescope. Visitors who enter the respective spaces in Wroclaw and Berlin are thus invited to experience the parallel reality of the partner city in real time: here, they can interact with one another and learn something about the history, present and future of both cities.
Today, only a few weeks before the official opening, we are especially proud to have won the patronage of Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin, and Rafał Dutkiewicz, Mayor of Wroclaw.
The installation will be presented simultaneously in both cities from 9 May to 3 July 2016. The striking design of the exterior shell (a light blue, dome-like tent 6 metres high and 12 metres wide) will be visible from quite far away. As soon as visitors enter the space, they will encounter the parallel reality of the partner city. The walls of the pipe-shaped space will consist of video screens transmitting a real-time view of the square that surrounds the installation in the opposite city. In other words, the perspective of the installation located in front of the Main Train Station in Wroclaw will be transmitted to the installation at Dorothea-Schlegel-Platz in Berlin, and vice versa. Participants will feel like they are standing in a transparent space in the other city.
A so-called “membrane” will form the centre of the installation and enable a look into the “partner telescope”. From Wroclaw, visitors will see the space in Berlin, and vice versa. This way, it will be possible to for the people visiting the installation in one city to see and hear the people visiting the installation at the same time in the other. It will also be possible to communicate via gestures, talking and text messages.
A number of different artists, associations, media, politicians, scientists, musicians and schools will contribute to the LUNETA project while it is on display. These activities, initiatives and audiovisual exchanges will allow people in both cities to re-evaluate their experience and knowledge of the neighbouring country and to get to know each other better.
The installation will also offer opportunities to use the existing image and sound transmission capabilities for content that goes beyond the real-time broadcast from the other city. For example, multimedia multiple-channel installations in LUNETA will provide a forum for artists, who will be able to surprise and delight visitors with unusual perspectives, views and reflections.
LUNETA will also have a diverse support programme which will serve to connect the populations of both cities to one another by means of various special events: for example, Berlin’s Club der Polnischen Versager (Club of Polish Losers) will examine Polish contemporary history for one full week; also once a week, Jazz musicians in both cities will come together for a jam session; school classes will perform experiments and make music together; and, as part of Berlin’s “Long Night of the Sciences”, visitors will be invited to look behind the scenes at the functioning of LUNETA. These events, as well as concerts, readings and discussion roundtables, will no doubt be enriched by the dimension of real-time transmission to the other city. The result will be a common space – both virtual and concrete – that connects the two cities and invites visitors to talk, reflect and engage in critical exchange.
The Luneta project, which seeks to achieve the uninterrupted, real-time transmission of sounds and images with a minimum of latency, is so complex that conventional media technology methods would either be insufficient or involve a disproportionate level of technical expenditure.
For this reason, Hewlett Packard Enterprise – the tech partner on this project – is using a fresh and innovative new approach to the transmission of sound and image data. First of all, the Proliant servers used in the mirrored Luneta structure will be equipped with very powerful Intel® processors that enable virtualisation; secondly, the servers will contain multiple high-performance graphic cards (NVIDIA GPUs) to allow for particularly rapid video processing. The use of ESXi Hypervisor created by the company VMWare will give virtual graphic computers direct access to GPU hardware. The advantage of virtualisation is its deployment of several virtual machines on one physical computer, which enables the problem-free parallel processing of different tasks, including IT core services and different applications for audio and video processing. The use of the efficient H.264 – Videocodec will make it possible to generate a high-definition, video-optimised transmission that nevertheless requires a lower bandwidth with broad software support. With the help of specially configured virtual machines, it will also be relatively easy to pre-programme a wide variety of scenarios and control them via HP Tablet.
For more detailed information about the technical implementation, please click here.
Idea /Artistic Direction: Volkmar Umlauft
IT Implementation: Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Production: Mediapool GmbH
LUNETA 2016 is a project associated with “Wroclaw Berlin – European Neighbours”, a co-initiative of the Berlin-based forum for civic responsibility known as Stiftung Zukunft Berlin and the European Capital of Culture Wroclaw 2016 in cooperation with Hewlett Packard Enterprise Corporation, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH, Mediapool GmbH and Mica Moca e.V..
With support from the EU Commission and the LOTTO Foundation Berlin.
Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller
German Consulate General Wroclaw