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David Wallace Haskins

September 2018

Public Viewing Hours:
Fridays 6–8pm
Saturdays 1–5pm
Sundays 1–5pm

Time Mirror II is Haskins largest interactive video work to date. The work is entirely live, and never recorded. It transforms 150 Media Stream into a 150’ digital mirror, reflecting the architecture and its visitors back onto itself, compressed and stretched in time.

Here, visitors are invited to contend with various polarities experienced in life, such as the singularity and plurality of the self, the internal perception vs. exterior reality of the self, and the present-self relating with the past and future self.

The work offers an opportunity to slow down and see oneself moving through different layers of time from a third person point of view. Haskins says, “Seeing the self as “other” opens a doorway of understanding and compassion towards the self and the world at large."

Time Mirror II is an extension of Haskins new solo museum exhibition entitled Polarity, which runs Sept 8, 2018 through January 13, 2019 at Elmhurst Art Museum.

Haskins’ other off-site extension is a unique Virtual Reality work entitled Time Spheres, premiering at EXPO Chicago, September 27–30 2018 at Navy Pier.

Interview with David Wallace Haskins

What do you envision will be the impact of Time Mirror II on the tenants and guests who visit 150 Media Stream within the context of a commercial building (versus an art venue setting)?

I think we have become so accustomed to humming along in life without any acknowledgment or compassion for ourselves or others that we need unique experiences to surprise us out of our trance. I love working in public spaces because the work can catch a visitor in their everyday routine and surprise them with a moment of bewonderment that might perhaps lead to something valuable.

My Time Mirror series catches visitor’s attention in a very simple yet meaningful way. By reflecting, not recording, the viewer in different layers of time and showing them back to themselves the visitor sees themselves in third person. Many people have said this experience was the first time they had ever truly seen themselves. In a Facebook/selfie world, that statement is quite telling.

I think the best way to do a work like this is perhaps out in the real world, in a space you’d never expect it. We usually try hard to carefully curate the version of ourselves we want the world to see, so it can be quite surprising for us to see ourselves in such a simple and unexpected way. My hope is that people embrace it and open themselves to the experience rather then become closed off to it. I believe there is great power in widening the ways in which we respond to ourselves with greater acceptance and compassion, it has a direct effect on how we relate with the world around us.

How do you see the architecture of the lobby space and the blades structure become part of the work?

The materials that make up the lobby immediately stood out to me for their various specular qualities and inspired my process. I particularly enjoyed the way the 45º angled glass curtain above shifted the traffic and train along it’s path, and how the polished stone walls caught ghostly reflections of people and held the light. I thought it would be fitting to create a work for this space that continued this shifting of perspective. I wanted to reflect the architecture and the blades back onto themselves, so the blades became invisible and less a feature, more like windows out beyond the limits of their own technology.

The stone walls allow you to actually see a second layer of time, you see both your actual image and your digital mirrored-image layered in time reflecting off the stone walls and back into the blades, it’s a wonderful moment where the architecture resonates with the work. The lines of the floor also become an interesting feature inside the piece, acting as segments of a timeline.

I also really wanted to be able to capture the long exit from the elevator to the glass turnstiles and show that compelling view back to the visitor. I felt that our movement through architectural space is something we rarely sense the scope of. Here you see yourself in the context of the architecture and surrounding environment in a way that was previously impossible.

Can you talk about your current solo exhibition at Elmhurst Art Museum and how this piece relates to the theme of your show?

The exhibition is entitled Polarity, which is a phenomena observed in this world from the micro to the macro level. We experience it in our minds and hearts as well, as our values and visions clash with those around us. Our political landscape is of course showing us this right now in a very dramatic way.

As humans we have always found comfort in settling into clearly delineated camps, it feels safe to be amongst others with shared perspectives. But only living in such places will certainly never allows us to grow and expand.

By juxtaposing contrasting phenomena, art has historically done a great service to humanity by getting us to contend with these seemingly disparate realities inside and outside of us: to make more room inside ourselves for that which doesn’t always make sense right away. The more I live the more I realize the value in asking better and better questions. My work is all about doing this in surprising and yet playful ways that aim to leave the viewer in a state of reorientation by way of gentle disorientation.

Time Mirror II at 150 Media Stream, is part of this overarching theme in my work and particularly in the show Polarity in that it deals directly with the polarities we deal with inside of us. The hope is that through a little disorientation, one might find a kind of reorientation to help them grow compassion for themselves and then the world around them. Here visitors experience the unique tensions of how we are both singular and plural, or how we behold ourselves through this conceptualized lens that is very different then how we actual appear outside of that, the interior and exterior perception of the self is very different, as is how we relate with our past, present, and future selves. This is of course a lot to take in on a brisk walk into or out of work, but my hope is that some might find it possible to make a little more room for what they see, and find a new and perhaps even more helpful way of beholding themselves and the world around them.

Learn more about David Wallace Haskins here and his current solo exhibition here

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