BMW 4 Series premieres in Central Europe via human-robot performance
The BMW 4 Series was shown for the first time in Central and Eastern Europe during a show-installation part of the Ars Electronica festival
How up to date are you with technology? How about art? Now mix them together... Are you still as informed as you thought you were? Well, in that case you know exactly what Ars Electronica is and why being showcased in it is a big deal. This year, the show included a really interesting show-installation dubbed 'Who Am I? A human-robot performance'. And guess what? It wasn't just a pretty title, it actually included a robot. Oh, and a BMW 4 Series Coupe for good measure.
BMW called me up and invited me to attend this installation and I was serious curious to see what it was all about so I already had a resounding "yes" heading from the lungs through the throat to my lips when they also casually mentioned that the new 4 Series Coupe will be there. Since the pandemic prevented a classic live attendance at the unveiling of the new 4er, I was more than curious to see the new grilles and the overall package with my own eyes so the PR representative didn't even finish the sentence and he already had an answer from my side.
As it turned out, the venue would bring together art and technology in a totally different way than I expected. The installation was one of the most interesting I ever witnessed. The story revolves around the Pygmalion myth and instead of the creation or sculpture, this time we have a robot doing the heavy lifting. Don't think about a biped robot, or an Android of the likes you see in the movies. This was a more... practical approach. The robot was made by Kuka and used to work in the BMW Regensburg plant a while back.
Think of the videos you saw of the production lines in Germany and all those orange arms mounting different parts on cars along the assembly process. Well, those are all robots and this is what was waiting for us here. 1.5 tons of metal programmed to be as gentile and nimble as the terribly talented ballerina dancing before it. It was a spectacle of man and machine that simply made you reconsider how soulless these engineering marvels truly are. Sure, the fact that at one point the robot actually had a face also contributed to this picture in my head but overall, it was a great display of dancing, grace and lights, the likes of which I had never experienced before.
In this context, the new BMW 4 Series Coupé was presented in a lighting installation located next to the Kaustik Nights concert stage. The installation only hinted at the shapes of the new model, it was an invitation to discovery.
“We are a German brand built on technology, engineering and performance. With a slogan that celebrates 45 years and speaks of joy – “The sheer driving pleasure” – we are also a brand built on emotions and experiences. The BMW 4 Series Coupé illustrates very well this combination of technological excellence and the driving pleasure. Ars Electronica, with a dialogue between art and technology, and “Who Am I? A human-robot performance”, with a robot that has become a performance artist, we have an excellent setting that allows us to show the two facets of our brand. We are very happy that we were able to be part of this project, especially since in the foreground is a former BMW employee”, explained Dr Josef Reiter, Managing Director of BMW Group Romania.