While contemporary art darling Doug Aitken soaks up the success of Song 1, word came yesterday that he’s been tapped by a West Coast outpost to mount his first-ever permanent museum commission. The Seattle Art Museum’s facade is the canvas for the piece, titled Mirror, a series of LED panels that will display footage shot around the Emerald City before dissolving into pillars of light running up the structure in strips. Passers-by might see a ferry trekking across the Puget Sound or (if they’re lucky) a sunrise as if reflected on the building’s exterior.
A computer program controls the video reel, which will react to changes in light, weather, and traffic patterns so that the footage will never be shown the same way twice. Local art collector Bagley Wright, who was one of the original Space Needle investors and a major Aitken fan, authorized the project last year before he passed away. Construction of Mirror will begin early next year.
When Aitken takes to the Pacific Northwest this spring to collect footage, he’ll surely be confronted by local critics with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Regardless, it’s about time Seattle gained another controversial icon visitors can see perpetually at no cost—I was sick of hearing about the EMP more than a decade ago.