A religious structure can prompt a transcendental experience, transporting parishioners into another plain. This ethos is highlighted in “Neural Mirror,” an installation at the former Church of Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro in Spoleto, Italy, that scans a viewer’s image and transforms it into a cloud of vibrant numerals and symbols.
Created by Ultravioletto, a design studio that uses technology and robotics, the work supposedly takes not only one’s physical form, but also one’s emotional state and sex drive, and manifests these characteristics as data. Essentially, how the viewer reacts in front of the reflective surface triggers the varying responses. “‘Neural Mirror’ is an interactive installation in which artificial intelligence is the protagonist,” says the collective team of Ultravioletto in a prepared statement. “[It is] a mirroring sentient interface that perceives, interprets, and elaborates the image of the observer.”
Enveloped in a violet light indicative of the design group’s name, “Neural Mirror” is situated at the center of the one-time church, as if it were an alter, gleaning all the information that comes before it. To whit, the piece suggests an artful interpretation of religious observance, serving as an advanced, high-tech portal for inner reflection—even if it isn’t the intention.
The installation is exhibited as part of the 62nd edition of the annual Festival of Two Worlds, a showcase of all mediums of artistry. It is sponsored by the Carla Fendi Foundation, an organization chaired by Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi that preserves the works of old masters and the works of burgeoning ones.
“Neural Mirror” can be viewed at the former Church of Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro from now until July 14.