Mirror is a socially sculpted portrait space that subtly foregrounds the innermost states of sitters by triggering us to locate ourselves in the infinite diversity of others, while locating others in the infinite diversity of ourselves.
A Mirror experience dissolves boundaries of language, religion, politics, ethnicity, age, gender, socio-economic status and personal sovereignty. Through facilitated yet considered non-intervention, Mirror manifests and liberates our intangible yet familiar, deeply-held vulnerable self-image by situating us inside a diversity of living, breathing, fluid, alternative selves.
Mirror operates like a kind of artistic lie-detector that punctures distrust at source and facilitates pre-verbal affective attunement / somatic resonance with ‘strangers’. Through an inter-dependent fusion of exteroception (external perception – most notably the experience of simultaneously being seen while seeing) and interoception (internal sensate neuro-physiological perception), participants subliminally discover that in many important respects we are all “the other person”.
During filming, we cultivate a safe space in which to guide participants through a variety of somatic experiences that culminate in sustained eye-contact with each other in pairs. We then film each participant in cinema-quality slow motion from a seemingly impossible angle within the axis of eye contact between partners, using a hidden arrangement of one-way and two-way mirrors.
Projecting Mirror portraits in gallery and cinema settings catalyzes engagement by amplifying minute saccadic eye movements, micro-muscle adjustments and respiratory sound. In foregrounding the intangible inner states of participants, Mirror emancipates the fluid inner states of viewers.
While established photographic terminology is replete with the language of aggressive material acquisition (we ‘take’ pictures; we ‘shoot’ photographs and films; we ‘capture’ images), Mirror advocates a receptive rather than an acquisitive approach, in which the formulation of images is conceived of as an interaction between perceiver and perceived, not as a conquest.
The accent is on inter-connectedness, not otherness and the status of the process is in equanimous balance with the product. In this configuration of creativity, the artists position themselves as unselfconscious catalysts rather than self-determined authors, and the subjects themselves are regarded as co-creators and collaborators.
Mirror is a collaboration between cinematographer Gerry McCulloch and social sculptor Betsy McCall.
© Darshana Photo Art