The Chamera di Percezione® (Perception Room) project seeks to amplify perception by triggering an enhanced experiential relationship between viewer and artwork. Huge high-definition images of Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch, projected in a “magic box”, make it possible for the viewer to penetrate the painting from multiple angles and also reveal the recent restoration process. This project was developed by Art Perception, which idea is to investigate the relationship between visitors and works of art in a technologically augmented perception environment. The images and sequences of the Chamera di Percezione® project are organized into a crescendo linked to varying levels of experiencing the painting. This arrangement provides each viewer the opportunity to pursue the approach best suited to him or herself from among the multiple avenues available, and so places the observer at the centre of the project.
The project focuses on two main objectives: making a better connection between visitors and the artwork, and finding new methods for measuring this relationship by studying embodiment and cognition in augmented reality environments. Using protocols developed during our Luca Giordano project, visitors undertaking this multisensory experience participated in both qualitative and quantitative impact assessments. The qualitative methods are those that collect data in the form of interviews, words, comments, visual images and documents. Observed behaviour, ideas, actions and experiences are then processed in line with detailed written descriptions and explanations of the phenomena studied. Quantitative data, collected using established techniques of psychophysiological research, measures various parameters of bodily function in order to record the reaction of the entire psychosomatic system, especially emotional reactions. The analysis of non-verbal communication indicated a remarkable frequency of more relaxed expression and brighter eyes following a visit.
The Chamera di Percezione® is an immersive set fitted with mirrored ceilings and floors. The walls are screens onto which four multimedia projectors project different levels of reading the artwork and its history. From inside the “magic box” the viewer is offered four different narrative itineraries, each of which is punctuated by moments of synchrony that bring us back to the unity of the work and the experience itself.
The videos guiding the viewer’s journey follow the movement of the morphological field of the painting. High definition reproduction combined with macro optics make it possible to see the tiniest details close-up. In this way the general public is invited to admire the work from a vantage point that is normally the prerogative of restorers. The details of Raphael’s brushstrokes can be observed in the goldfinch, in the curls of hair, and in the various haloes, offering a unique opportunity for insight into how the marvellous pictorial quality creates an effect of such strong evocative appeal. You can preview the video at the following link.