Las Vegas. On the occasion of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), BMW will present its Digital Art Mode and will be the first to bring digital art into vehicles. Internationally renowned Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei created the Digital Art Mode in the year of the 50th anniversary of BMW Cultural Engagement. Held in Las Vegas from January 5‑8, 2022, CES will be the first event to showcase the Digital Art Mode inside a BMW iX M60.
The Digital Art Mode is part of the all-new My Modes: Their unique moments enhance BMW’s driving experience by creating a synergy of the vehicle’s functions and its interior design. Depending on the driving situation and the overall mood, a holistic user experience featuring both a functional and an emotional level can be created at the touch of a button or via voice control. To that end, drive control and steering control, mood lighting and sound as well as the color scheme and graphics of the BMW Curved Display are precisely synchronized.
A quantum leap for BMW Cultural Engagement: After 50 years and hundreds of international cooperations, BMW will now introduce art into its vehicles. The novel Digital Art Mode offers an additional option for drivers to personalize their driving experience according to their preferences and interests and enjoy culture in their mobile day-to-day lives. The Digital Art Mode is the result of an intensive collaborative process of BMW Group Design and the Chinese multimedia artist Cao Fei, whose art creates fascinating and sensual, immersive moments. In 2017, Cao Fei designed the 18th BMW Art Car using the M6 GT3, the first of its kind to be entirely digital in the history of this unique collection of mobile artworks. With this very first incorporation of digital art in an automobile, Cao Fei and the BMW Group are now taking the next step together.
The new BMW iX M60 home to a premiere: a digital artwork symbolizing the deep connection of humankind and nature.
For the very first time, the Digital Art Mode can be experienced in the new BMW iX M60 at this year’s CES. The feature will be made available for other BMW series vehicles in 2022. Selected models will be available with the Digital Art Mode as a customized optional feature configurated directly ex work, while others can be retrofitted via remote software upgrades integrated into the user interface. “With the new Digital Art Mode, BMW Cultural Engagement reaches new heights while creating something entirely unique,” said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Digital Car, BMW Group, “For the very first time, we are making digital art an integral part of the modern driving experience in a car and use innovative technology to transform mobility into an individual, highly exclusive and emotional experience.”
The artwork to be presented on the BMW Curved Display and created by Cao Fei, speaks of the continuous change of a globalized and interconnected world and is named “Quantum Garden”. Galaxies of visual spaces filled with dots, light beams and nebulae constantly moving towards and away from each other at varying speeds while growing and shrinking again and again. They express the mostly invisible but continuous links connecting people, groups and systems that affect each other even over great distances and, in doing so, also modify their surroundings. In her artwork – produced especially for the Digital Art Mode – Cao Fei combines her reflections on these global connections and correlations with the pursuit of a collaborative form of what in Asian cultures is often described as the perfect harmony of humankind and nature. The artist herself explains this eternal quest as follows: “The desire to connect is omnipresent. It is about how we can synergize with the world, live with nature and renew our energy.”
“2017 was a spectacular year, a time when humanity embraced the advent of artificial intelligence. During this time, I employed augmented reality to create the 18th BMW Art Car, a car with an aura of its own, enhanced by new technologies. 2021 was a difficult and special year. While humanity was stuck and helpless, the world has been moving determinedly into the metaverse, the age of virtual immersion. This is the very moment when I was once again invited to participate in BMW’s groundbreaking Digital Art Mode,” said Cao Fei. “My work ‘Quantum Garden’ gives the BMW driver the chance to experience the ever-changing digital landscapes of a multifaceted universe in a screen world, where abstract poetry and sensory pixels intersect. Its network of open-ended spectra are connecting our hearts to the call of goodwill from the depths of the universe.”
In her own words, Cao Fei describes “Quantum Garden” as “a poetic collection of universes, countless atoms, nebulae, and thousands of fast-moving beams of light from the depths of the universe, and those trailing strings of galaxies, growing larger and smaller, intersecting and extending, combining and separating, perceiving and listening to each other, around a myriad of constantly rotating centers. In a multidimensional universe, the trajectory is non-linear, the journey has no end, only the freedom to switch between the micro and macro worlds, to wander, to explore, and to evolve.”
New ways of experiencing culture: BMW Group once again pioneering
The Digital Art Mode was created in the anniversary year of BMW Group Cultural Engagement. For 50 years, BMW has been assuming its social responsibility in the world of culture with its partnerships and initiatives. In doing so, hundreds of long-term cooperations have become an integral part of the company’s social sustainability. Many of its projects have begun exploring the potential inherent in digitalization to expand the scope of BMW Cultural Engagement, develop new forms of artistic expression and reach new audiences.
Digital art by Cao Fei: from the racetrack to the BMW Curved Display
When Cao Fei designed the BMW Art Car in 2017, BMW Group once again pioneered the design of innovative cultural experiences. For the very first time, a vehicle was transformed into a rolling sculpture by using augmented reality. Cao Fei’s BMW Art Car included three components: a film about a spiritual time traveler, a carbon black BMW M6 GT3 and an augmented reality installation consisting of multicolored light particles made visible with the help of a custom-made app programmed for the occasion. Every time the app was used near the race car, the screen of the smartphone displayed floating, ever-changing light strips above and around the BMW M6 GT3 – a reflection of the rapid change of the artist’s home country as seen on the 18th BMW Art Car.
Cao Fei sees her work on the new Digital Art Mode as a direct continuation of her creative process in collaboration with the BMW Group. Designing a race car with augmented reality will now be followed by integrating digital art into the interior of series vehicles.