Mediamatic Off-Line Vol. 11#1 Geert-Jan Strengholt 1 Jan 2003

Peaks, Street Rabbit, No a la Guerra

Merel Mirage

The Mediamatic Supermarket building acts as a film screen and computer display while the Mediamatic Image series is running.


Konijn op straat -

In Merel Mirage’s project it is transformed into a sort of Über- slide viewer. Slide series are often anecdotal in nature. That is to say they are often an illustration of anecdotes or accompany them; the maker utilises word and image in a brief account of a personal experience. To the degree that the images are ‘stronger’, speak for themselves, the illustration becomes superfluous and the anecdote more universal.

Merel Mirage selected three ‘slide series’ for the projections. Three apparently unrelated sequences of images, each picture in turn representing a personal anecdote. A series of holiday photos shows a walk in high mountains, the laborious climb to the top amidst the panoramic landscape of the Swiss Alps. A rabbit found among rubbish on the street (lapin trouvée?), gets a good wash and a new lease of life. And finally images of the Fiesta del invierno in Barcelona demonstrate a unexpected topicality when the theme of the traditional march turns out to be a protest against the war in Iraq.

For Merel Mirage, it is often personal, intimate events that stimulate projects, subsequently manifesting in a public setting. The slide series are no exception. The setting might just as well be the public domain of the internet, as in the urban landscape here. In her most recent project HOLY, she connected both domains in a very direct way. A sweet machine placed in a comprehensive school forms a ‘porthole’ to an internet community where young people can create and set their own animations. They are little, personal messages that can be viewed one after another on the sweet machine. Together, the anecdotal and web log-like messages form a kind of portrait of this (internet) community. She herself describes the sweet machine, located like an interface in the middle of the school, as a Trojan Horse, a commercial medium broken into and rebuilt as a conveyer of personal expression.

The slide viewer at the Supermarket works like a big billboard along a busy road, projecting Merel Mirage’s personal anecdotes as if they were ads. Splendid mountain landscapes flash by, although without holiday slogans. A dirty toy rabbit is washed clean as a whistle, without a pay-off for the well-known fabric softener. But for the colourful folklore of the Fiesta del invierno, personal experience seems to connect with the universal cry from the heart worthy of a billboard: No a la Guerra!


Konijn thuis -

translation: helen-anne ross