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Künstliche Intelligenz und echtes Gefühl - Deutsche Oper Berlin

What moves us

Artificial Intelligence and a Real Feeling

With the help of artificial intelligence, the Deutsche Oper Berlin translates the transformative power of opera into a novel visual world. The campaign designed by the Berlin-based branding agency Stan Hema takes viewers on journeys into their own experie

Anyone attending the opera goes home a different person, in the best case. Opera moves us: it lets our imagination soar, it fascinates, amazes, touches, inspires us. Opera touches each and every one of us differently – but often it shakes us to the core. Stan Hema makes this transformation visible with the help of artificial intelligence. »Our visual worlds are often surprising in their otherness and lack of definition; they leave room for the viewer’s own interpretations. In that way, they correspond to the opera experience,« designer Peer Hempel emphasizes. The powerful combination of creativity and artificial intelligence will accompany the Deutsche Oper Berlin through its coming three seasons.

The artistic idea comes alive with the help of a neuronal network which designer Daniela Vogel has fed with a set of data consisting of several hundreds of repertoire images. »With the help of this data, artificial intelligence was able to learn the aesthetics and the structure of these images in several hours of training. It then went on to generate new images. When we saw the first results, that was a goosebump moment.« The morphed images translate the experience of an evening at the opera into fantastical dream worlds. Distorted figures flow into colour patterns in high contrast. Shadowy silhouettes with faceless contours remind us of stage action. The output is diverse and unique. Yet every single motif bears opera’s DNA. What happened next? »Together with the dramaturgy department, we identified characteristics of every work being premiered. Which emotions does the piece convey? Is the music impulsive, melancholic, gentle or calm? What is its range of colours? On this basis, we chose the final motifs.«

They might depict huge figures in striking neon colours before a backdrop of passionate red, ranging all the way to blurry fantasy creatures swallowed by a black background.

To designer Peer Hempel, the multi-sensory experience of image, text and music is the focus. Therefore, the campaign takes a holistic approach. It includes not only static motifs to appear throughout the city on posters, but also videos with an opera soundtrack for social media. »Expanding our communications through new technologies is a daring step into the future.« Of course our campaign does not reinvent the art form. It merely uses the tools of artificial intelligence to show opera in a way that contradicts traditional visual patterns. Daniela Vogel considers this a motor for examining and debating relevant questions of our times. »Our images provoke. They demand that the viewer take the risk of trying something new, and starting a dialogue with themselves. This changes the perspective of opera, moving from an individual to a collective experience, to processes that concern and move us all. That is exactly what we are trying to achieve.«

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