This interactive installation deals with the image we have of ourselves and of others. In 1999 the Italian neuro-physiologist Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team discovered the so-called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are activated in the temporal lobe of our brain each time we observe other people's actions. What is interesting is the fact that the same neurons are activated when we perform these actions ourselves. Another important factor is that mirror neurons allow an immediate and intuitive comprehension: someone's facial expressions, how he/she speaks, behaves and moves, all this is immediately processed in the mirror neurons. Big amounts of previous inputs help these neurons to activate the feelings of sorrow, joy and empathy to name a few. Moreover, mirror neurons also play a big role in our own intuition: they can help us in processing incomplete information and making predictions about the future behavior of others. It is also interesting to note that the image we have of ourselves is strongly based on the image we have of other people. Mirror neurons play an important role in this regard, as they allow us to distinguish the 'self' from the 'other', depending in which region of the brain these processes happen.
The interactive installation "Neuro Mirror" deals with scientific findings on mirror neurons in an artistic way. These days, neural networks on computers can simulate complex learning processes. Deep Learning and Big Data are just some of the buzzwords of our times. While we can argue that machine learning or AI, as it is called, might never reach the level of complexity and adaptability of the human brain, we do have to acknowledge that research in the field of Artificial Intelligence has made tremendous progress in the recent past.
In "Neuro Mirror" we do not want to demonstrate the latest developments of machine learning, but instead use neural networks in an artistic manner. "Neuro Mirror" is a participative installation where visitors see themselves on three screens, arranged like a triptych. The screen in the middle displays the participant's image in real time, while the screen of the left shows his of her image from the past. The screen on the right however represents the future, where the participant' actions are approximated from ones past actions. Neuronal networks predict the future and create changes and extrapolations of the participant' self-image. The set-up of the triptych is used on purpose to create a sacral feeling and suggest reflections and irritations on one's image and self-control.