Australian multimedia studio mentl.Lab has just unveiled its groundbreaking kinetic artwork: a mesmerising giant sphere made up of 80,000 LED lights, 486 motors and a whole network of computers, responding to sound and music to create an incredible display of light and colour.
Known as 'Morph TE', the complex structure is now on permanent display at Burg Taggenbrunn in Austria – a former castle that has recently been transformed into a multimedia gallery. Set in its own dedicated room in the 12th-century building, it leaves plenty of space for visitors to walk around it and experience the sphere from all angles, whilst its pulsating light bounces off the solid stone walls and high ceiling.
Developed, designed and built by artists Nicholas Perillo, Joshua Batty and Mitchell Nordine – the collective trio behind mentl.Lab, the project took months to complete and is designed to be an "exploration of the relationship between humanity and robots". It hopes to shed some light on a "new kind of artificial life" and is the star of the opening show titled Zeitraum, which has been curated by artist and cultural manager, Andre Heller.
"It's testament to exceptional engineering and design. And the unrelenting passion of its creators," says Heller. "Morph is the breath in the lungs. The heart in the chest. The ghost in the machine."
Morph can only be understood fully by watching the film above or seeing it in person. With the music switching from positive and lighthearted to a more ominous or foreboding tone, it leaves us wondering whether we should be excited or indeed worried about the rapid advancement of AI technology. You could say Morph is like an extraterrestrial being, as it adapts to suit the mood – all in a fascinating choreographed display that is constantly changing.
Of the artwork, Nicholas Perillo says: "It demonstrates the emergence of complex behaviour through well-orchestrated simplicity. Timely in its reflection of humanity's symbiosis with machines, yet timeless in its pioneering embodiment of symmetry and naturally inspired movement, Morph is both a creative endeavour and a deep dive into technological anthropomorphism."