Both appearing and disappearing on the horizon is a mirrored structure in harmony with the shifting days and seasons of the Californian landscape. Framing a unique perspective each time the piece is viewed, at nighttime, the architecture reflects a dusky sunset opening up to a handful of stars.
LA-based designer, Doug Aitken, has created an almost aqueous time-lapse of the elements. In daylight, the soft colours of the desert take on an almost Turner-esque resemblance, but at night transmuting to reflect a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in Blade Runner — the electric night of LA bouncing off the walls.
This constant movement reflects bigger themes found in the American West, echoing the stories told by the likes of Steinbeck about families moving away from the dust bowl of central America out to the Western states. Aitken’s mirrored installation looks out over past and present migration; the evidence of construction by these very peoples is shown in its walls, reflecting the Los Angeles below. This provides a stark contrast in terms of physical material however; the American ranch, celebrated by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright is a thoroughly corporeal structure, its ingredients of wood, brick and clay derived from the earth. ‘Mirage’ on the other hand seems almost ethereal with the roof mirroring the sky as if the structure has been conjured from the air itself. Here we have a silhouette of the traditional ranch, the clean lines and shapes still present in homage to the American dream. Yet it is devoid of any doors, windows, furnishings and possessions, arguably that which completes this dream.
And yet with more and more people embracing minimalism and decluttering their lives perhaps it is only appropriate that ‘Mirage’ provides a space to reflect. The interior shows us only ourselves and the outside the environment we live in; honing in on what really is important in an all-too cluttered world.
To view more of the project, visit Aitken’s website.
By Mimi Thompson.