Ali Miharbi

Movie Mirrors

“Movie Mirrors” consists of a computer, a monitor, a webcam and custom software. The viewer sees his or her mirrored image being switched back and forth to characters from movie images surrounded by their scenes. The viewer’s face is computationally captured in real time; its size and location on the screen are determined and matched to a series of images stored in a database. The first version, “Movie Mirrors I: Trailers” (2009) uses 2,500+ images from recent movie trailers downloaded from the Web. The second version, “Movie Mirrors II: Rear Window” (2010), uses 3,000+ images from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Rear Window”. “Movie Mirrors” reverses the relationships between the spectator and moving images, such as the role of the viewer sitting still on a seat and identifying with the moving bodies on the screen. Older media hierarchies still exist despite the prevalence of the Internet, as it is evident from the estimations that in 2010 half of the Internet traffic was used to broadcast video, a traditional one-to-many communication medium. In “Movie Mirrors”, extracted images from a collection of popular movie trailers are reanimated in real-time, collectively creating a sense of motion that mirrors the viewer’s movements in front of the screen. With this reversal of roles, the normally disconnected images are sequenced to fit the moving body of the viewer to symbolically break down the media hierarchies. It can also be read as an attempt to revisit the old question of spectatorship in the age of computers and of ubiquitous flow of information.

Ali Miharbi is an artist whose work can take many forms from photographic, graphic or sculptural pieces to dynamic systems driven by live or stored data. His recent work explores our complex two-way relationship with technology within larger frameworks. In 2010 he completed his M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University after acquiring a dual degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Art Theory & Practice (concentration: Painting) from Northwestern University in 2000. His work has been exhibited in Turkey, Mexico, South Korea, USA and Australia.