Nikolaus Baumgarten is an artist based in Berlin, Germany making works of sculpture and web-based zoomquilts.
Baumgarten’s inspiration arrives from both pre and post internet sources. Historically, first infinite zoom animations can be found in the movies such as Cosmic Zoom by Eva Szasz and Powers of Ten by Ray and Charles Eames, both from 1968 and both based on the 1957 children’s book Cosmic View by Kees Boeke, which deals with the relative size of things in the universe. Later web based quilts grew out of a community where people collaborated on artwork over the internet such as http://ice.org/tiles. These collaborative tiles worked similarly to the surrealist drawing game Cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). An artist contributes a single tile of a patchwork painting called a “Quilt”. After reserving a spot the artist gets a frame with a border of the neighboring tiles that need to have artwork connected to it. Another direct inspiration for the Zoomquilt was the Gridcosm project, which is a still ongoing similar collaborative infinite picture. Unlike Baumgarten’s Zoomquilt projects, on Gridcosm anybody can contribute. These open collaborations create interesting outcomes but often lack the quality control that creates a seamless illusion.
Beginning in 2004, Baumgarten, and contributing illustrators, worked together with the goal of to create a high resolution, seemingly infinite, coherent illusion of zooming artwork that would appear seamless. The first iteration, Zoomquilt, immediately went viral when released in 2004. In 2007 the successor Zoomquilt II was released. In 2015 Baumgarten revisited the concept and created Arkadia.xyz, a lush fantasy garden painted in collaboration with Sophia Schomberg.
infinitely zooming image website, 2004
contributing illustrators: Aeyol, Artdek, Ässn, Baumgarn, Beetlebum, Big O, Brandish, Dazzled, Der Hase, Duracel, Ebr, Fidgit, Gogan, Hase, Hermann, Igino, Inken, Jan, Jaster, Jito, Kassandra, Lucy, Markus, Nacho, Pictor, Raganaga, Reitz, Sakamies, Shadow, Shu, Stu, Vulti.
infinitely zooming image website, 2007
collaboration with Sophia Schomberg
infinitely zooming image website, 2015