2. MIRROR, 2013

2. MIRROR, 2013

"MIRROR" is a constantly changing, custom software artwork that displays responsive video, mirroring the people, city, and landscapes around it.

Where Is It?

On 1st Avenue, embedded into the Seattle Art Museum facade, above the main entrance. (You might be able to see it better from across 1st Avenue.)


Seattle Art Museum
1st Avenue & Union Street, Seattle, WA 98101, USA

About the Artwork

Custom software editor displaying responsive video on a site-specfic architectural media facade. Environmentally triggered continuous video recombination, color, no sound , Screen: 3072 x 1620 pixels, Gift of Bagley Wright, 2013.2, © Doug Aitken. Provenance: Commissioned from the Artist

From the Artist

With MIRROR I was interested in the idea of creating a living museum, a downtown building that could change in real time. It's like an urban earthwork. Seattle is a very complex and fascinating city on many levels and MIRROR was an attempt to reflect the simultaneity of the culture and landscape you find there.

I looked at the structure of minimalist music, and that became the framework I used to create this. […] I realized that's the way I needed to design this work. To create an invisible system that could relate to and mirror what's happening around it, like a living composition.

The piece is going to exist in such a way that I don't think anyone will be able to see the entire work. And that's what I'm after. I like that challenge. […] With MIRROR, I was more interested in the idea of using the landscape right around here.

The work will move through different layers of sensitivity: from the speed of people walking by the street outside to the reflection or brightness of the sunlight shining on the building. This mapping of the landscape and the surroundings feeds into the building, which sequences it live.

The museum's surface can sense all these changing conditions around it, thus creating images and abstraction. The building can speed up or slow down, it can change chroma with the temperature, or the speed of the wind might edit a live sequence of images a certain way. MIRROR will never repeat itself; it will simply change continuously in the present moment.

About the Artist

Doug Aitken was born in California in 1968. He lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. Widely known for his innovative fine art installations, Doug Aitken is at the forefront of 21st century communication.

Utilizing a wide array of media and artistic approaches, his eye leads us into a world where time, space, and memory are fluid concepts. Aitken's body of work ranges from photography, sculpture, and architectural interventions, to films, sound, single and multi-channel video works, and installations.

His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

The Unveiling!

Directions to the NEXT STOP

Continue on 1st Avenue to Union Street. Make a right on Union and then another right at 3rd Avenue. Walk down 3rd Avenue until you reach the entrance to Benaroya Hall.