Sentient Veil

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Boston, US - 2017

Sentient Veil is a jewel-like canopy containing multiple miniature sound processors interwoven with hundreds of digitally controlled lights installed within the historic galleries of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The work pursues intimacy and sensitivity through intricate miniature components and layers of diffusive, hovering material close to the scale of a human body. Sentient Veil is composed of digitally fabricated cellular textile lining floating over the ceiling surface of the gallery. The work is composed of finely detailed interlinking skeletal components containing distributed computational controls with soft LED lighting and whispering interactive sound functions. Movement of visitors within the space trigger choruses of whispering responses emanating from miniature custom acoustic resonators integrated within the fabric of the sculpture. Glass vessels containing chemical protocells and carrying interactive LED lighting are also integrated within the sculpture.

The work contains textile-like details that respond to iconography within a religious painting by the 15th-century Italian master Fra Angelico, located within an adjacent gallery. A direct dialogue with adjacent paintings, where the hybrid new fabric of the sculpture, carrying ambivalent, alien synthetic qualities, resonates and enriches the subtle meanings of traditional fabrics seen within the painting of nearby masters.