article (pdf in portuguese)
O Espelho (The Mirror) is a theatrical sound installation inspired in part by the story of the same name by 19th century Brazilian writer Machado de Assis. It is by sound artist Iain Mott and performer Simone Reis and includes objects and paintings by visual artist Nelson Maravalhas and video by Alexandre Rangel. O Espelho investigates the games of deception we play with our identities using a variety of contemporary audio technologies, video and visual illusions from the 19th century, together with pre-recorded performance and electroacoustic composition. The installation is devised for a solitary viewer in keeping with the isolation experienced by the protagonist in the original story. Of great importance in this work its investigation of how sound, voice and listening can function ontologically side by side with visual representations of the self.
The characters played by Simone Reis are projected as "pepper's ghosts" in a false-room adjoining the publicly accessible installation space. This 19th century theatre technique involves angled glass positioned on a stage or diorama to provide the illusion that the space is occupied by a phantom figure. In our installation, the false-room is identical to the installation-space, however all furniture as well as pictures and objects on the walls by Nelson Maravalhas are arranged in mirror-image. The gallery visitor sees the projected video images and the false-room as if they were a reflection. This is by way of a false-mirror, a simple pane of glass in a frame. An "audio spotlight" (a special loudspeaker) is used to produce what are experienced as "in-head" sounds by the participant. These sounds principally correspond to the voice of the false-reflection played by Simone. Other sounds representing the memories, thoughts and fantasies of the characters (and by implication, the visitor), surround the seated listener and are projected in the space by what is known as an "ambisonic" sound system, consisting of multiple loudspeakers.
CCBB, Brasilia, 14/7 to 16/9, 2012 - Galeria de Artes Van Gogh, Sobradinho, 21/9 to 21/10, 2012 - Teatro Newton Rossi, SESC Ceilândia, 26/10/2012 to 26/1/2013
O Espelho is made by sound artist Iain Mott and actress/performer Simone Reis in collaboration with others including: video maker Alexandre Rangel, visual artist Nelson Maravalhas, playwright Camilo Pellegrini, lighting designer and arquitect Jamile Tormann and costume designers Cyntia Carla and Simone Reis. The production is by Alaôr Rosa and Arte Viva Produções with funding from the Fundo de Apoio à Cultura (FAC) of Brasilia and the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB).
Installation concept: Iain Mott
Artistic directors: Iain Mott and Simone Reis
Script: Simone Reis, Iain Mott and Camilo Pellegrini
Curators: Simone Reis and Iain Mott
Performance: Simone Reis
Stage direction: Simone Reis and Iain Mott
Composition and sound design: Iain Mott
Video: Alexandre Rangel
Computer programming: Iain Mott
Lighting design: Jamile Tormann
Paintings and objects: Nelson Maravalhas
Photography: Mila Petrillo/Rayssa Coe/W. Hermusche
Direction assistant: Luara Learth
Make up: Raphael Balduzzi
Project coordination, production and director of production: Arteviva Produções/Alaôr Rosa
Executive producer: Nalva Sysnandes
The following people and groups gratefully acknowledged for their contribution toward the conception or development of the project:
Antonia da Silva Reis, Carlos Lin Silva, Celso Araújo, Cláudia Gomes, Dalton Camargos, Davi Reis, Departamento de Música e Departamento de Artes Cênicas do Instituto de Artes da UnB, Greg Schiemer, Guilherme Reis e Espaço Cena, Guillaume Potard, Jim Sosnin, Luís Augusto Jungmann Girafa, Marc e Elizabeth Raszewski, Marília Panitz, Núcleo de Vivência da UnB, Odila Bohrer, Olive Maureen Mott, Renata Azambuja, Ros Bandt, Stephen Barrass, Zé Celso Martinez Correia