When the sun went down last night, downtown Seattle lit up with the projections of Mirror, the new (permanent) installation on the facade of Seattle Art Museum. Commissioned by Bagley Wright before he passed, the massive video project by artist Doug Aitken boasts two LED screens—one on First Avenue (70’ x 120’) and the other on Union Street (60’ x 120’)—that cycle through hundreds of hours of footage of the Northwest. All day. Every day. (Technically, from 7am to 1am.) SAM promises you'll never see the same images twice, though it'll take a keen eye to notice the differences. We watched as kaleidoscopic shots taken from within a 100-mile radius of Seattle flashed by: the cityscape and pedestrians at crosswalks, then the monorail, cars on the highway, the port, trees in an anonymous forest, and aerial views of Puget Sound.
As Seth Sommerfeld reported last week, "The footage won’t simply be on a loop either. Mirror will blend art and technology to adapt to the building’s surroundings. A computer program will monitor environmental triggers like the seasons, weather, and traffic and the footage displayed will adjust accordingly."
That's pretty cool. Now, the big question: Is this art or Times Square? Stop by the corner of First and Union and let us know what you think.
My low-budget video from Sunday night's unveiling, with live music by Seattle Symphony.