To Walk a Mirror

The French writer and literary critic Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle) once asserted that "the novel is a mirror one walks along a path" -- a critique of the ways in which literature is bound to representational form. In this, there is also a critique of everyday life, which is connected no less than literature, to the fictions we tell ourselves every time we look into the mirror. It's an artist's dream -- and nightmare -- the simple observation that reality is bound to the mirrors we use to construct it. In psychoanalysis, we see ourselves (in the mirror) therefore we exist -- and yet such an existence is both optically and psychologically tainted. In communications, we represent (through image) therefore we exist -- our very existence dependent on an ability to sustain the interest of others in the images we put forward. In some ways then, our own fictions walk along the path beside us -- and all the better when they are mirrors too -- friends who might be imaginary but which nevertheless reflect a side of the world we know and trust.

To Walk a Mirror is a thought experiment turned photographic proposition -- what does it like look like when we "walk a mirror" most literally? This might be the secret mirror in your shoulder bag, or the bathroom mirror in a publicly frequented location -- but in either instance, it is a mirror that you already know -- and which consequently already knows you too. This is a project that asks you to take a mirror for a walk, however you decide to creatively render the proposition itself. The challenge given to participants is to take a picture of someone other than themselves, in whatever way they choose, but in a way that somehow resonates with their own vision for the project. The hope is that, the spectacle of the action not-withstanding, the project will initiate dialogue among participants -- as a space for whimsical speculation and creative rethinking of performance and representation.

+ click for a slideshow of all project images

Contributor Images 2012 (Summer)
University of Washington Bothell

image credit: Adrea Erdahl (2012)

Participating Artists Toshiyuki Arai, Candis Belkonen, Adrea Erdahl, Lesley Ferguson, Ben Geller, Chad Hickenbottom, Marcy Inclan, Colette Jolicoeur, Yuan Leung, Alicia Louie, Courtney Marino, Jo McGrady, Laetitia Teeter, Linwei Yang, and several anonymous contributors

Contributor Images 2012 (Winter)
University of Washington Bothell

image credit: Mike Jacques (2012)

Participating Artists Yousef Abotteen, Matthew Chung, Erica Corwin, Parisa Farahani, Eugene Gordin, Kelly Haines, Mike Jacques, Deric Jones, Jay Loomis, Maureene O'Sullivan, Suzanne Palmer, Tracy Rosman, Lindsie Rowe, Bonnie Seaborn, Amanda Shen, Amy Swank, Eric Weinberger, Cheuk Ying Wong, and several anonymous contributos

Contributor Images 2011
University of Washington Bothell

image credit: Skye MacLeod (2011)

Participating Artists Jo-Anne Antoun, Justine Bronfin, Clancy Burch, Robbie Christmas, Courtney Cohan, Ani Dorsett, Nick Elmurr, Nils Finholt, Jarka Gurthova, Natasha Haining, Adrianne Hashimoto, Jonathan Hunt, Skye MacLeod, Brad Marvin, A. Pellegrini, Kat Seidemann, Megan Valdepena, Hilary Warren, Andrea Wille, Boyoung Yum, and several anonymous contributors