• On Sept. 2nd 2019 a new permanent interactive installation named “NeuralRope#1 – Inside an Artificial Brain” located at the pedestrian tunnel in Besso-Lugano, Switzerland has been freely opened to the public. “NeuralRope#1” is an initiative of the L*3 – Lugano Living Lab which facilitated the creation of this collaborative work between institutions (City of Lugano and local universities), the local artist Alex Dorici and the scientist prof. Luca Maria Gambardella from the Swiss Artificial Intelligence Lab IDSIA (Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull’Intelligenza Artificiale, USI-SUPSI).

    “NeuralRope # 1” represents an artificial neuronal network software installed in the Besso pedestrian tunnel (length of the tunnel: 100 metres). The software reproduces in three dimensions a large neural network using several LED screens which are always on day and night. The screens can anonymously interact through cameras with people who walk through the tunnel.

    The LED screens represent “neurons” of the “artificial brain” while the physical artistic cords that connect them evoke “axons” and “synapses”, simulating the propagation of nerve impulses between one neuron and another. In the interactive work “NeuralRope#1” the artificial neuronal network is taught to distinguish shapes made with manual gestures of several simple objects shapes such as triangles, squares, hearts, ok and dislikes. The network, in the form of a software initially tested in a laboratory setting, acquires new inputs by observing people interactions with the cameras positioned at the beginning of the tunnel. While learning from the interactions, the software processes the information and modifies its axons and synapses accordingly. As a result of an interaction between a user and the artificial neuronal network of NeuralRope#1, the screens installed at the tunnel display what they have recognized (whether a triangle or a square or a heart, etc.) as represented in the perceived image.

  • Alex Dorici
    Visual artist, born in Lugano in 1979. After graduating in art and engraving, he furthered his artistic education in Paris, from 2005 to 2010. Returning to Lugano in 2010, he devoted himself to urban space presentations. His site-specific installations use materials such as ropes, tiles, pipes and adhesive tape to alter the usual perception of everyday places. Since 2006, he has exhibited his works in museums and galleries, both in Switzerland and abroad.

    Luca Maria Gambardella
    Scientist and artist, he was born in Saronno in 1962 and lives and works in Ticino. He holds a degree and doctorate in computer science, developing a strong interest in artificial intelligence. Studying the ability of machines to learn, and how robots can be autonomous. He is full professor of the Faculty of Informatics of USI, Università della Svizzera italiana at IDSIA (Istituto Dalle Molle di studi sull’intelligenza artificiale USI-SUPSI) and co-founder and CTO of Artificialy sa. He passionately dedicates himself to art: he paints, creates sculptures and writes novels (“Sei vite” 2013, “Il suono dell’alba” 2019).

  • In the interactive work “NeuralRope#1. Inside an Artificial Brain” teaches an artificial neuronal network (NN) to distinguish shapes of two categories: triangles and squares. The network, initially prepared in the laboratory, acquires new images by observing passers-by through the camera positioned at the beginning of the tunnel. While learning the NN processes the information and modifies its axons and synapses accordingly. Afterwards, the NN will show on the monitors at the exit of the tunnel whether a triangle or a square is represented in the perceived image. The NN has therefore observed, reasoned and learned.

    Privacy Information
    The Neuralrope# 1 camera does not record any images and does not allow identification of people. The system interprets some manual gestures made by those who interact with it, tracing only their combinations; the analysis carried out therefore is only numerical.





  • Neuralrope#1: Opening

    Neuralrope#1 Best of


  • NeuralRope#1 Official video

    NeuralRope#1 Official video with subtitles ENG


    MySwitzerland and Lugano Region: Key Story. Lugano - Contemporary city of art in the south

    Paper presentation at the DLLD 2020: NeuralRope#1 an urban collaborative project between art and scientific research enoll.org

  • A special thanks to the people who have contributed to the realization of this project inaugurated on Monday, 02 September 2019: Claudio Chiapparino, Elena Buchmann, Igor Bellotto, Patrick Wagner, Mauro Soldati and the whole technical team of the City of Lugano.

  • Texts by Ada Cattaneo
    Software by Alessandro Giusti and Gabriele Abbate
    Video NeuralRope#1 by Sacha De Nardo
    Printed graphic layout of Cascio Gregorio
    Mario Fontana technical support
    Leonardo Angelucci’s web project www.neuralrope.ch