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'Mirror Mirror' inaugurates media wall in Building 56

People exploring the recently reopened Buildings 56 and 16 may have noticed a new interactive "media wall" in the Building 56 lobby. Even before its final installation, Professor John Maeda's interactive digital artwork, Mirror Mirror, received a piece of fan mail adhered to the adjacent plaster wall saying, "This is really cool!"

Professor Maeda (SB 1988, SM), assistant professor of design and computation at the Media Lab, is the test pilot for the newly installed site for presentations of digital artwork. The wall was incorporated into the Buildings 56 and 16 renovations as part of MIT's One Percent for Art program.

Mirror Mirror is a "video fountain" that uses a stationary camera to capture images of passersby and incorporate them onto a colorful moving grid. It's the first installation in a space that is designed to help MIT become a leader in the presentation and critical study of art in electronic formats.

According to Katy Kline, outgoing director of the List Visual Arts Center and overseer of the media wall project, proposals for the first year will be accepted only from artists in the MIT community or alumni/ae, in order to troubleshoot the venue before opening it up to the international artistic community. "It's important for us to learn and understand how the space will work," she said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 16, 1998.

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