Mirror displacements

I ran across this image at SPROL, and immediately thought of Robert Smithson’s “Yucatan Mirror Displacements,” in which Smithson put mirrors on the ground and in the trees throughout the Yucatan, and then photographed the resulting inversions of sky, land, earth, heaven… left, right, etc.

[Image: Robert Smithson, from “Yucatan Mirror Displacements, 1-9,” 1969].

And though the first image, above, is actually an array of solar power generators, the machines it pictures rearrange and visually disrupt the landscape in such an exciting way that I’m tempted to suggest they should be installed everywhere just for the visual effect.
Thousands of these things on the roofs of every building downtown, installed in the smoky corners of clubs, part fractal-mirror-machine, part-echo-wall. Rotating inside jewelry shops, turning everything into a seamless, through-linked chain of exact-faceted geometric self-similarity.
Install ten thousand of these in the sky, rotating above Manhattan: babies will wake-up from afternoon naps and see sparkling heavens of mirror-bright skies flashing like cameras, reflecting towers, clouds, seas, rivers, a world made alive through reflective technology.
There’s something oddly attractive – even Greek-mythological – about a mirror that can store the sun’s energy: it can copy the sun, in other words, or imitate it. It’s a kind of rearing-up of the son, the prodigal copy – a return of the repressed – to slay and replace the source, the original.
In fact, imagine a retelling of the Narcissus myth, updated for the 21st century, populated entirely with solar-powered technology and written by Jean Baudrillard – and you’d get something like these mirror-displacing reflection machines.

3 thoughts on “Mirror displacements”

  1. That also reminds me of this project. Engineers at the Bartenbach Light Laboratory in Aldrans, are working on a computer-controlled network of sun-tracking mirrors installed into the hillsides in order to bring sunshine to a sun-starved mountain village in Rattenberg, Austria. Imagine lighting the globe indefinitely like this, instead of the dark age we return to a perpatural light age, a forever lit hydroponic architecture. i also think you have described a sweet and pretty panopticon of the future, like looking at the world from inside one of those funky mirror-plated disco balls that’s been turned outside-in, mirror confetti spread everywhere like little bioluminescent fish scales mounted all over the city, seeing the light reflected from other side of the world, stored from years ago, religiuos nuts will rise from the grave, I SEE THE LIGHT BROTHER, I SEE THE LIGHT, with all that narcissus-reflexivity, beware the dawn of an empire of clones…

    more news links here: http://archinect.com/news/article.php?id=P13046_0_24_0_C
    Bartenbach Light Laboratory: http://www.bartenbach.com/

  2. Um, these mirrors reflect in such a way, and the camera is positioned in such a way, that the figures presented for viewing are remarkably like crucifixes in the desert. Any significance there?

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