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Data Viz Stacks the Entire Berlin Wall into a Single Frame

Turkish new media artist Erdal Inci reimagines the Berlin Wall as a fractal 3D model.
All images courtesy the artist

When Turkish new media artist Erdal Inci, who has created a clone arm that jogs to Kraftwerk amongst other works, thinks of the Berlin wall in his adopted city, he thinks of its length but cannot easily envisage its true size. To get around this barrier to imagination, he decided to create a computer-generated 3D model of the Berlin Wall compiled entirely into a single frame.

Inci sketched out Berlin Wall: A Data Visualization with research, during which time he came across “Stützwandelement UL 12.11,″ or the “Fourth-Generation Wall” (Grenzmauer 75). Begun in 1975 and completed in 1980, this portion of the wall was built out of 45,000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 3.6 meters high by 1.2 meters wide (approximately 12' x 3.9'). Their L-shaped concrete structure was designed to prevent cars from driving through the barricades, while its top wall was lined with smooth pipe, created to make it more difficult to scale. It is, according to Inci, the section of the Wall most commonly seen in photographs, and has has far outlasted other sections of the Wall.


“The next step was to make a 3D model of a single segment from its blueprint and then duplicate it 45,000 times,” Inci explains on his website.  “At that point I needed to decide how to compose all the pieces, so I ended up ordering them together in the same proportions all from a single segment. Doing this ensured that we are able to see both the shape of a single segment, on a larger scale, with more detail and the entire quantity that makes up the wall (exactly 45,000 pieces) together.”

Inci next plans to 3D print a version of his fractal Wall design on a 1:1 scale, or 12' tall, so the viewer can easily recognize its form from a distance and upon closer inspection the wall can be viewed in its entirety.” In the animation Inci created, viewers can see the whole fractal structure in a collapsing simulation.

“I used a free-fall gravity simulation tool to make it in the program,” Inci tells The Creators Project. “I think it’s fun to watch a collapsing structure—if it doesn’t hurt anyone.”

Berlin Wall : A Data Visualization (extract) from Erdal Inci on Vimeo.

Click here to see more of Erdal Inci’s work.


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