In the splendid setting of the former Church of Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro in Spoleto, Italy, overlooking the central Piazza del Duomo, the Neural Mirror installation brings technology and innovation to the art field. Curated by the interactive design studio Ultravioletto, this pioneering project in the sphere of Artificial Intelligence and robotics, is promoted by the Carla Fendi Foundation on the occasion of the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto.
The event, now in its 62nd edition, continues to be one of the most important cultural events worldwide, with a program that embraces art at 360°. In this context, Ultravioletto, in synergy with the Foundation chaired by Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, proposes a reflection on the new technologies that will dominate the future and that humankind is being called today to face, identifying the privileges and opportunities, but also the risks.
Perception is one of the fundamental aspects in the research field of human-robot interaction: Artificial Intelligence aims to replicate the degree of perfection with which the human mind works. Reactive to the environment that surrounds it, AI detects stimuli, decodes emotions, and recognizes the traits of people who are within its range of action.
The project focuses on visual reflection. The characteristics of animate and inanimate objects in a space, how they interact and what semantic relationships are triggered, are among the aspects that it investigates.
“Neural Mirror is an interactive installation in which Artificial Intelligence is the protagonist: A mirroring sentient interface that perceives, interprets and elaborates the image of the observer,” explain the designers.
In an ever-changing immersive environment, the visitor, placed in front of mirror interfaces, is scanned and transformed into a cloud of points by an algorithm. Sex, physical characteristics, emotional states, demographic references are all registered: the physical body translates into a flow of information reworked in real time by the AI.
Similar to a sort of virtual identikit, the combination of physical data and emotional aspects is transmitted from artificial intelligence to writing via printing, through ad-hoc designed plotters that operate as “computerized amanuenses”. From a biological subject to a digital avatar, the transfigured ego of the visitor takes the form of a tangible graphic sign, in an experience that blends materiality and abstraction.