Immersive underwater world on 1,000 square metres of projection surface

Exhibition “The Wave” at the Gasometer Oberhausen

Algae sway gently in the Kelpl Forest and schools of fish glide elegantly through the water. Humpback whales approach from the distance and soon swim by life-size in front of your eyes. An immersive underwater world is the highlight of the new Planet Ocean exhibition at the Gasometer Oberhausen, developed by our partner Ars Electronica Solutions. Lifelike animations on a projection surface of more than 1,000 square metres invite visitors to immerse themselves in the underwater world. Garamantis developed the software for this spatial projection of the superlative.

Garamantis software running on the world’s tallest indoor screen

The centrepiece of the new exhibition is the immersive large-scale installation “The Wave” in the centre of the Gasometer. The projection surface for the deep-sea animations consists of two parts: A horizontal translucent screen under which visitors can move freely. Above this is a 40 metre high vertical screen. Both surfaces are illuminated by a total of seven 30,000 lumen laser projectors. With a total resolution of 60 million pixels, they create a different visual experience depending on your position in the room. The design of the two interlocking projection surfaces creates a new kind of visual spatial experience. For example, when gigantic masses of water roll towards the visitors like crashing waves.

Staging allows visitors to dive below the water’s surface

In the creative staging, guests move under the horizontal transparent screen (“gauze”), immersing themselves in the projection. As they move through the space, they even have the opportunity to interact with the content. Life in the deep sea can be experienced up close as guests interactively dive into huge schools of fish, follow elegant jellyfish and meet life-size sharks and humpback whales. The creative minds at Ars Electronica Solutions are behind the real-time animations. Garamantis was commissioned to develop the software, which combines real-time visualisation with high-resolution animated video material. The visualisation reacts to the position and movements of the guests.

Experience and understand bioluminescence

In one of the applications, visitors can playfully generate marine light (bioluminescence) by moving around the room. In nature, this mysterious light comes from billions of single-celled organisms, microscopic algae. When stimulated from the outside by waves or a float, they begin to glow. In the gasometer, the Garamantis application creates this particle effect depending on the movements of the guests. First, more and more animated particles are created around them on the floor, which then move slowly and organically across the screen up to a height of 40 metres.

Immersive concept for Europe’s tallest exhibition hall

It is not only the power of the images that makes this exhibition so special, but also the way in which it is embedded in the industrial architecture of the Gasometer Oberhausen, Europe’s tallest exhibition hall. Ars Electronica Solutions used the unique space of the Gasometer to create the impression that the surface of the sea seamlessly merges into the ceiling structure of the room. Parallel to the visual spectacle, individual sound compositions create an immersive overall experience.

The “Planet Ocean” exhibition can be seen at the Gasometer Oberhausen until 30 December 2024.

Photos: Gasometer Oberhausen GmbH / Thomas Wolf, Dirk Böttger

Ars Electronica

Ars Electronica Solutions

Project Data

  • Client: Ars Electronica Solutions
  • Context: Immersive large-scale installation “The Wave” in the Gasometer Oberhausen
  • Time for implementation: 6 months
  • Project completion: March 2024
  • Customised software development
  • Consultancy on projection
  • On-site commissioning
invidis consulting

“The Wave” is an immersive installation in the former gas tank, now Museum Gasometer Oberhausen. Visitors to the current Planet Ocean exhibition can stand in front of or under the wave. Thanks to a software application by Garamantis, they even become part of the “water world”.

Projektion: Die fiktive 40-Meter-Welle

invidis, 3/28/2024

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