My research has led to an interest in the Claude mirror.
‘A pre-photographic, landscape-viewing device, used by romantic artists and connected with the Picturesque Movement. The artists stood with their back to the scene looking at it through the small black convex mirror. The reflection framed and transformed the view, distorting perspective, altering colour saturation and compressing tonal values. This resulted in a loss of detail but gave an overall unification of form and line.’
The seeming absurdity of refracting and reflecting nature in this fashion is balanced by the beauty and seductiveness of the mirror’s optical effects.
The Claude mirror references the relationship between desire and the fabrication of place, between the body and the environment. Linking the mirror with contemporary popular culture, tourism, snapshots, web-based security and surveillance technology, exposes the ongoing mediation of nature through technologies of vision.
It reveals the layered, culturally determined nature of the gaze. It draws attention to the complex…
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