“1-900 Mirror Mirror” at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, 1993-4
1-900 Mirror Mirror, (1993-5) was my first interactive public artwork. Taking the form of mirrored phone booth, 1-900 Mirror Mirror was a work in which I could communicate with the viewer by videophone. The primary intention was to discover what the viewers might ask when confronted by their own image in a mirrored infinity chamber. The mirrored booth, covered with hand printed roses, ivy, and hair, was a visual metaphor which projected what would happen at death. The work was conceived in the midst of the AIDS crisis with the intention to provide a transformative experience. Perhaps hope and healing might transpire on seeing a never-ending vision of one’s self.
Playing off the 1-900 pay talk phone lines mainly used for psychic and sex dialogues, I took on the role of the artist as seer. My presence an oracle within the small screen of the videophone which radiated as I asked, “do you have a question for the future” Everyone who sat down did. Looking back 1-900 Mirror Mirror was a precursor by a decade to skype chats/video streaming exchanges we see embraced by many artists today.
At the time there was a perceived ambiguity a to what constituted the actual work: was it the installation of the printed mirror and furniture, the altered relation between the viewer and the artist, or the performance itself. I prefer to see it as all three intertwined.
To prepare for the first presentation, I became a phone psychic for a month – being hired by the 1-900 company. I used the log that was supplied to keep a log at the first presentation. This detailed log along with documentary photographs taken by Maxine Henryson will be in the 1-900 Mirror Mirror book which will come out in 2017.
The first presentation of the work was at the project room at Andrea Rosen Gallery, NY and the work subsequently traveled to Voyeurs Delight at Franklin Furnace, NYC, Techno for an Answer at Real Art Ways, Hartford, Conn., Trans Ambient at The Kitchen, NYC and Art Metropole, Toronto, Canada.
Photographs of 1-900 Mirror Mirror are by Maxine Henryson