The warnings were issued that the mirrors were coming! Despite these warnings the mirrors arrived!
Toronto needed to be prepared or they would be grasped by its reflective powers. Thousands of people did not heed the warnings. They flocked liked grazed tourists to the landing site to explore the verboten warnings.
Not since the day that Narcissus was captured by a reflective mirrored pool was there so much excitement and anticipation. Who is Narcissus?
According to ancient legend he was the first person in the world who was seized by a mirrored image. When he leaned over, to take a drink from a crystal clear pond, he saw someone staring back at him. He was enthralled. The person staring at him was so beautiful that he could not help but fall in love with himself. Mirrors have been capturing peoples imagination ever since.
To paraphrase Grimm’s Snow White, fairy tale, her Step Mother’s queried, ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?’ Who can resist glancing at their alter ego? A study done by Avaj, a men’s lifestyle brand company in England, states that men look at a reflective surface 23 times per day while women only 16. People have an automatic tendency, when passing by a mirror or reflective glass window, to glance at their silhouette, to check out their ‘fairest’ image of themselves, against other people they admire or are involved with.
Mirrors have played an important part in ancient mining and architecture. The interior art work in pyramids and noble tombs enabled light to be reflected around corners into chambers deep underground to illuminate its walls.
Now, for the first time, a huge boat had reached the shores of Toronto, bringing the world renowned House of Mirrors to Toronto Luminato Annual Festival. Created by Keith Courtney and Christian Wagstaff, two Australian artists, from Melbourne, who left their event planning corporate world to craft a global 55 ton mobile art show. From imagination, to creation, the artists toiled over two years building an infinity mirror maze to ensnare those that dare to enter its portal. When asked how they knew their artistry would be successful, Christian said, “We didn’t”. After much research into the subject of mirrors and its meaning and humanity’s fascination to its mental and off world dimensions the idea took form. Keith mentioned, the Versailles Palace’s Hall of Mirrors and the funny mirrors that change people’s shapes at various circuses as inspirational points. Christian chimed in that they also watched some of the famous movies that had reflective mirror themes such as; The Lady from Shanghai, featuring Orson Welles (Michael) and World War II heart throb Rita Hayworth (Elsa) to give them better insight into how people responded to mirrors. There were many days of doubt until the opening day, when as unknown spectators, they observed how people reacted to their House of Mirrors.
“ MEN LOOK AT A REFLECTIVE SURFACE 23 TIMES PER DAY WHILE WOMEN ONLY 16”
Some of the people were, a little timid at the entrance others more excited. It was the expression on their faces and exclamations of joy that made them realize that they had created something that would bring a unique experience to people around the world.
In an age of digital displays and selfie egoism the House of Mirrors harkens back to pre-digital historic times. Its analogue construct evokes similarities of amazement when seeing and experiencing the feeling you get entering, the Great Pyramid’s chamber or Luxor’s Valley of Kings, tombs such as young Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Fast forward 3600 years later to the House of Mirrors aperture.
Do you take the red pill or blue pill and step into a huge puzzle? If you had chosen to go into the orifice you could be entering an imaginary Stargate with all of its illusory uncertainties. What will your mind see? You are creating you own reality as you try to navigate your way through the maze that reflects every move you make. An infinity display of all of your visual ingenuities. But don’t be afraid if you are lost there are people inside that will help you find the exit.
Once they entered the maze they were not disappointed. Tens of thousands marvelled, touched, explored and figured out how to get out. Listening to the exclamations, bewilderment, exhilaration and frustrations from all the people who were meandering from one mirror to another trying to find the exit, made the House of Mirrors incursion into Toronto an unexpected treat. Bravo for Luminato Toronto’s International Arts Festival in bringing, the House of Mirrors, from down under, into the hearts and minds of ‘We the North’ visitors. What could follow the House of Mirrors? It’s cousin, the “House of Doors.”