Block Mirror: Marlene Jess

Sat. January 26th 2019 - Sat. February 16th 2019
In the age of disembodiment, I believe humans may struggle for the capacity to maintain a sense of self beyond the accompaniment of a personal technological device. The device can record, alter and preserve the user’s sense of self for them. In a way, the device serves as a personal mirror.

I am interested in how this device projects a distorted image of the self back to its user.

In the text Water in Dreams (1983), Gaston Bachelard discusses the honest reflection of the self in a natural body of water vs. the degraded reflection of the self in a geometric mirror. The egoism associated with a brightly lit reflection in a constructed mirror (such as a personal device) can be regarded as disconnected from one's present physical reality, where the user is preoccupied with acquiring their identification via a mediated rather than authentic experience.

In the TV episode Black Mirror: White Christmas (2017) by Charlie Brooker, individuals have the option to “block” eachother in their present physical realities by pressing a button on a personal device. Here, the blocker and the blockee become flat, pacified, brightly pixilated human-shaped blobs stripped of their expressive human qualities.

These sources have inspired me to develop a series of works around these ideas.
Block Mirror presents the viewer’s skewed reflection as it is mediated through a technological device.

Marlene Jess

Thank you Steven Bjørnsen for the technical expertise!

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