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BMW Art Car goes digital

Chinese Multimedia artist Cao Fei has reimagined BMW’s Art Car series for the 21st century using digital technology.

Since 1975, a total of 19 artists from all over the world have created BMW Art Cars on the basis of contemporary BMW models. However this year the youngest and first Chinese artist ever to create a BMW Art Car has employed augmented and virtual reality to address the ‘future of mobility such as autonomous driving, airborne cars and digitalisation’.

The internationally acclaimed Chinese multimedia artist decorated a BMW M6 GT3, the top model in the brand's Motorsport customer racing line-up. The car is powered by a M TwinPower Turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine with 585 hp and a top speed of 174mph.

Cao Fei’s work is described as a reflection on the speed of change in China, on tradition and future. With her BMW Art Car project, she pays tribute to Asia’s ancient spiritual wisdom as it swiftly spreads out into the third millennium. The multimedia artist approached the Art Car in a way typical for her artistic practice, building a parallel universe. The body of work consists of three different components: a video focusing on a time traveling spiritual practitioner, augmented reality features picturing colourful light particles, accessible via a dedicated app and the BMW M6 GT3 racecar in its original carbon black.

Dr Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG said: “We were thrilled by the decision of an independent jury of international museum directors to have nominated Cao Fei. Considered as a lucky number in China, her vehicle is the official 18th rolling sculpture of the collection. For her project, Cao Fei chose an unprecedented and immersive approach, empowering the viewer to engage with the artwork through cutting-edge technology. This is truly a BMW Art Car for the 21st century.”

Cao Fei commented “To me, light represents thoughts. As the speed of thoughts cannot be measured, the #18 Art Car questions the existence of the boundaries of the human mind. We are entering a new age, where the mind directly controls objects and where thoughts can be transferred, such as unmanned operations and artificial intelligence. Which attitudes and temperaments hold the key to opening the gateway to the new age?”

Over the summer, her multimedia installation will be displayed at the BMW Experience Shanghai, a brand and driving experience centre, before her BMW M6 GT3 needs to prove itself on the racetrack of the FIA FT World Cup in Macau on November 17-19, 2017. A virtual experience of her BMW Art Car will also be on display at the UBS Forum during Art Basel in Basel in June 2017.