Graz Art Museum

Graz Art Museum

Location
Graz, Austria | View Map
Project Year
2003
Category
Museums

A screen skin for the Graz Art Museum

Osram as Manufacturers

BIX is a matrix of 930 fluorescent lamps integrated in the acrylic façade on the east side of the Graz Art Museum in Austria. The brightness of each of the lamps can be changed at a rate of 20 frames per second, which means that images, films and animations can be displayed. The ideal light sources for this particular application were high-performance circular LUMILUX fluorescent lamps from OSRAM.The BIX concept was initiated and developed by realities:united, a Berlin-based group of artists and architects. Because this concept did not come from a local office it had to be incorporated in the planning work at short notice. The integration process was a challenge for a number of reasons, but particularly because BIX was a new element that completely dominates the main façade of the art museum – and therefore fundamentally redefined the architectural design of the exterior of the building.


The BIX media installation and the architecture of the art museum have a strong symbiotic relationship. The façade acting as a screen adds to the communication capabilities of the art museum and is a perfect example of the communication objectives of the museum, as enshrined in its statutes. In an abstract and indirect way the media façade is the outward manifestation of the internal activities of the museum.


In developing BIX, the designers took the conscious decision to move away from the central design features of conventional large-format screens in order to achieve a series of substantial benefits. On the one hand the low screen resolution clearly places limitations on it. On the other hand, this “trade-off” enables the modular structure and the immense size of the installation to be perfectly integrated in the architecture – and almost the entire façade on the side facing the river to be covered. Images do not appear on a separately installed video panel but on the entire art museum itself, achieving maximum integration between the building and the images.


BIX is an experiment. As a producer of content, the art museum has the capacity to develop methods for dynamic communication between the building and its surroundings – between content and external perception. A unique form of communication can therefore be created, consisting of vocabulary, syntax and rhythm. BIX gives artists the means to investigate alternative cultural and artistic principles that would not be possible on commercial advertising space.


The software tools, which were specially developed for the BIX project, also make a significant contribution to the efficiency and precision of this creative work.

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