Mirror States was a major exhibition of interactive installations. It brought together some of the most exciting Australian, New Zealand and International artists working with digital media and interaction. It took place in Campbelltown Art Centre and MIC Toi Rerehiko in Auckland.
About the exhibition…
Both art and technology act as mirrors that reflect our selves and our relationship to the world. Both also create “quasi-others” – entities which we endow with subjectivity through the projection of ourselves. Mirror States draws together art and technology, combining these two powerful systems of reflection and projection. The exhibition presented digital and interactive artworks that offered arresting glimpses of the self and intriguing interactions with digital others.
In Mirror States, some art works acted as digital mirrors, enabling the audience to interact with magical reflections of themselves. These works made use of the seductive allure of the reflection, but went beyond narcissism into a realm where the self is creatively transformed. They explored aspects of contemporary identity, but also pointed to historical metaphors, myths and mechanisms for understanding our subjectivity.
Other art works acted like Alice in Wonderland’s magical looking glass, taking audiences into a digital realm where they came face to face not only with transformed selves but also with digital entities and simulated personas. Computer technologies allow artworks to ‘come to life’, demonstrating life-like behaviours and sophisticated modes of audience interaction. In these encounters with digital others the audience enters into a new participatory relationship with the artwork. These can be magical moments or uncanny and disturbing confrontations depending on the style and mode of the interaction.
Together, the artworks in Mirror States pointed to new ways of exploring and understanding our own subjectivity and relationship with ourselves as well as our increasingly important relationships with technology.
The exhibition brought together some of the leading artists working in digital media in Australia and New Zealand and demonstrated the strength and diversity of contemporary digital art practice in Australasia. Into this Australasian line-up we invited Canadian artist David Rokeby, whose artworks and writing have been an inspiration for this exhibition, and an influence on many of the artists in the show. This is the first time that Rokeby’s seminal works, Very Nervous System and Giver of Names, have been seen in Australia and New Zealand.
Anna Davis and Jason Gee
Hye Rim Lee