Developed by Laura Cinti and Howard Boland, The Living Mirror is a bio-installation that combines magnetic bacteria with electronics and photo manipulation to create liquid, 3D portrait images. Living bacteria in the bio-mirror creates a series of pulsating waves to form pixelated images using electromagnetic coils, which changes the magnetic fields across the surface areas. Sensitive to bright and dark lighting, the Living Mirror bacteria blends together hundreds of light pulses to re-create an image reflection inside the apparatus.
The scientists spearheading this research-based artwork discovered these bacterias can swim along Earth’ magnetic field, producing a shimmering effect as they rotate inside the liquid. This discovery allowed the team to work with lower magnetic forces. Linking contemporary science to paradoxical Greek myth of Narcissus, the Living Mirror sheds new light on our understandings of the biological world around us and of our human self.