The project follows Aitken’s earlier ‘Mirage House’—featured previously on IGNANT—a site-specific mirrored sculpture of a home set in the middle of the Californian desert. However similar the two installations may be though, ‘Mirage House’ functioned as a polychromatic prism of desert colors in the vast natural landscape; whereas ‘Mirage Detroit’ is situated in virtually the opposite environment: in a contained space with Roman arches, a textured roof and no natural light. The century-old bank itself sat unoccupied in the midst of Detroit for several decades. Aitken collaborated with set designer Andi Watson to compose a light show that illuminates the installation, creating a fluid relationship with the surrounding man-made environment. Underneath ‘Mirage Detroit’, the white marble floor was lined with a bed of raw rock stones from a local riverbed. Speaking of the decision to situate the installation in such a location, Aitken explains in an interview: “It’s been bankrupt, it’s been dormant, it’s been crowded.” The aim therefore, was to breathe life into the space: “To give the architecture a heartbeat”.
All images © Doug Aitken Workshop