Students Host "Miroir/Zerkalo"
By Maria Kirigin '14, Contributing Writer
On Wed., March 30, Marsh Arts House hosted “Miroir/Zerkalo,” a still and moving image exhibition organized by Jeehae Kim Goddard ’13 and Alex Strecker ’13.

The organizers advertised the event throughout campus with different forms of publicity, including false $1,000 bills stuck on bathroom mirrors, graffiti on the remaining snow, a mannequin asking for donations for Marsh flood victims outside of Val and the foiled wrapped statue of Frost sitting at the corner of the Freshman quadrangle. The foil, though not used in the exhibition, was inspired by the theme of the mirror.

“Ideally we would’ve covered the whole of campus with it,” the artists said.

The event was originally scheduled for March 4, but it had to be rescheduled after an unexpected flood forced Marsh residents and those attending the exhibit to evacuate the house. Although they described the disaster as unfortunate, the artists also felt that it was a blessing in disguise, as it gave them extra time to improve their projects substantially.

On the night of the exhibit, Marsh residents greeted students with wine and the services of a coatroom. Large signs made of aluminum foil guided their way to the exhibition. In the ballroom, couches were set up in front of a movie screen where Goddard’s part of the project was set up.

While visiting the Museum of Modern Art and encountering a Frida Kahlo self-portrait with an accompanying mirror, Goddard’s concept for Zerkalo was born.

“Kahlo had intended for this mirror to be a way her friend could be together with her at least in image,” Goddard said. “But taken out of context, it proved to be a rather curious addition, through which I found myself observing others as they observed themselves, observed the portrait, observed others observing.”

This, along with the “boggling art of the Russian avant-garde” she came across in a class, resulted in her asking herself “whether we, the fallen children of the media age, could be moved at all by an encounter with a work of art.” Her final work took shape in the form of raw footage of students’ reaction to a series of artworks from the Russian art collection in Mead Art Museum, presented in a grid form of seven columns where one can see everyone’s facial responses to the art.

Strecker’s Miroir was set up in the basement of Marsh. This part of the exhibition involved the use of mirrors, film and note cards with written connecting thoughts. While Goddard focused mainly on how people reflect on art, Strecker’s project was about how people reflect on and present themselves. In his view, photography is very much like memory.

“Although we may perceive the world in a film-like manner, I feel photography best represents how we perceive the world retrospectively,” Strecker said. Inspired by Roland Barthes’ work, Camera Lucida, Strecker’s photography sought to explore a series of interconnected relationships simultaneously.

“The self, presentation, the external world, appearance in general,” he said. “In the end, we can only see each others’ surfaces.”

Strecker felt that in the end Miroir became more of a collaborative project as the progression of ideas unfolded. The project grew wih his conversations with his subjects about their experiences after the interview — the wording on the note cards changed, the angle of the camera was adjusted, etc. — until eventually it reached its final form.

With the theme of reflection, both artists used film (representative of how we view the world) and photography (representative of how we remember the world retrospectively) in hopes of making the audience more aware of themselves, of others, of their response to others, and of their response to art.

Issue 21, Submitted 2011-04-06 03:01:18