(Linz / Schwechat, May 28, 2012) “From Austria to the World” is the theme of five extraordinary giga-pixel images of New York City now on display at the Austrian Star Alliance Terminal Check-in 3 at Vienna International Airport. The pictures were taken by prizewinning Austrian photographer Lois Lammerhuber. The software that converted them into a breathtaking tracking shot through Manhattan was developed by Ars Electronica Linz.
15 Meters Wide, 9 Meters Tall, Incredibly High-Definition
In the Security Area of the airport’s new terminal, 165 screens have been clustered into a jumbo 15-meter-wide, 9-meter-high, 530-megapixel display. It takes 60 servers, 720 gigahertz of processing speed and software specially developed by Ars Electronica in order to showcase images on this one-of-a-kind photowall. The software breaks up the high-definition pictures into minute fragments and distributes them to the servers. This is what makes it possible to display the gargantuan graphics with no loss of clarity. And it’s precisely this prototypical interplay of hardware and software components that delivers breathtaking visual impressions to passengers passing through Vienna International Airport, which is also marketing this technical platform to host advertising and promotional spots.
A One-of-a-kind Tracking Shot through New York City
Kicking things off is an extraordinary jumbo-format presentation made up of five gigapixel images. Two of these are each composed of 240 individual shots; the other three comprise 66 shots each. The tracking shot starts with a look straight down into the so-called canyons of Manhattan, pans back up to offer a panorama of the cityscape, cuts to a close-up of the Empire State Building and then zooms in for highly detailed looks at a few choice highlights. The atmosphere created by the early morning light shifts moods with the advancing day and then subsides towards evening and into the night as the city lights go on all over New York.
Photo Shoot on the 61st Floor of Rockefeller Center
These shots were taken from dizzying heights—a wind-protected balcony on the 61st floor of Rockefeller Center. Following a protracted search, this is what Lois Lammerhuber and his crew came up with as the ideal location for their photo shoot, though they first had to have a window removed only to make the unpleasant discovery that the resulting outflow of warm air produced a visible shimmer which made it impossible to take crystal-clear images. But the photographers’ persistence finally paid off, and they were rewarded with extraordinary pictures. Over the course of two days, Lois Lammerhuber and Martin Ackerl, his technical advisor, shot approximately 2,600 photos and stored more than 62 gigabytes of data to memory. Post-processing of this material took an entire week. The computing time alone required to assemble the individual shots into gigapixel images amounted to another 22 hours.
Lois Lammerhuber, born in 1952, is a self-taught photographer. Since 1984, he has worked closely with GEO magazine, a collaboration that has profoundly influenced his approach to photography. The results include 2,000 pieces of reportage and numerous front covers. Among the many prizes Lois Lammerhuber has garnered are three Graphis Photo Awards for the year’s best reportage. He has also authored numerous radio programs in Germany and Austria over the years. In 1996, he founded his own publishing company, Verlag Edition Lammerhuber. Many of his books have been singled out for recognition too. Lois Lammerhuber is a member of the Art Directors Club in New York.
Ars Electronica Linz
Since its inception in 1979, Ars Electronica has been tracking the cultural and social consequences of accelerating scientific and technological progress. Attention and interest are never focused strictly on technology, social change or how these are interpreted in (media) art, but rather on the complex, multifaceted nature of these shifts and the interrelationships among them. “Art, Technology and Society” has always been the credo of Ars Electronica, a cultural institution, educational facility and R&D lab/atelier whose specific orientation and the continuity it has displayed over the years make it unique the world over. Ars Electronica Linz GmbH is wholly owned by the City of Linz.