The Blue Oyster Gallery had its first artist talk today by resident artist Scott Flanagan.  The artwork was made out of recycled recording tape and cassettes woven and attached to the wall so it becomes a reflective surface.  It includes a contemplative pool.

I find mirrors sinister.  They reflect the universe behind a glassy surface.  Sometimes when I’m surprised by a mirror I fear that I’m looking into the abyss, especially in the dark.  In the Book of Imaginary Beings Jorge Luis Borges records a Chinese legend that the Yellow Emperor imprisoned monsters in mirrors so that they must reflect the viewer until such time as the spell breaks and they release havoc on the world again.  China Mièville referenced this myth in his short story The Tain.

The artwork is dedicated to Ada Lovelace, the nineteenth century mathematician who appears in William Gibson’s steampunk novel The Difference Engines as the Queen of Engines.

The work was evocative to me of one of my favorite pieces from the Dunedin Art Gallery’s Beloved exhibition which also involves recycled recording tape.  I will have to get in there tomorrow to reference the piece.  Update: the work I was thinking of was When the Sun Rises and the Shadows Flee by Reuben Paterson, if that floor display is part of it.  The wall display is fascinating to watch.

The official opening of the Blue Oyster exhibition will be later this week.  At the moment it is still a work in progress.