In 1874, Torontonians Matthew Evans & Henry Woodward patented their design for the incandescent light bulb before selling the patent to Thomas Edison, who went on to produce and popularize their design. As part of a series of exhibitions commissioned by Cadillac for Canada 150, our Black Mirror installation at Union Station in Toronto is an opportunity for self-reflection, drawing inference from Canadian lighting innovation, and is our take on the power of light.
The Black Mirror is a tinted reflective dot in the centre of a recessed white area. Behind the mirror are twelve custom-built 100W LEDs arranged radially, spreading the light outward in each direction and softened by a sheet of scrim in between. These super bright LEDs have a combined output of 168,000 lumens. For comparison, daylight is 98,000 lumens. Staring into a black reflective surface with a glow behind it, the Black Mirror installation calls to mind our use of cell phones. Although the screen is ubiquitous today, black-tinted mirrors have long been used for their ability both reflect and abstract what’s before them. We’ve taken this idea and multiplied it in scale.
Landscape painters often used black mirrors as a tool to abstract the subject reflected in them by reducing a scene’s colour and tonal range. The occult technique of scrying works the same way. Scrying involves peering into an object for inward reflection, or to receive a message or prophecy. To scry, look deep into the mirror without picking a spot to focus on. Between the brightness of the light and the tint in the mirror, it eventually becomes hard to discern figures. You may notice a small, cloudy glow in the centre of the mirror.
Photos by Peter Andrew Lusztyk (@PeterAndrewLusztyk), Joshua Telfer (@JoshuaTelfer), and Ryan Tacay (@Phraction).