Jane Benson, Mirror Globe (Mapping the New World), 2012, mirror, aluminum, and oil paint, Maspeth High School, Queens
Mirror Globe (Mapping the New World) is a world map installation located on the outside wall of the auditorium, visible from within the school and from outside through the windows along the entrance plaza. Two large oval forms representing the Eastern and Western hemispheres are framed by steel bands inscribed with measurements of latitude and longitude. Most remarkable, however, are the 30,000 mirror pieces that cover the hemispheres, reflecting the surrounding space and capturing the image of each individual passing by both inside and outside. Viewers are invited to interact with the mirrors; stopping in front to observe themselves and their surroundings; momentarily allowing them to become part of the artwork. As they move along the piece, they activate it and give it life. For artist Jane Benson, this reflection of the students and school community represents the new world.
Peaking through the mirror tiles are glimpses of color, images, and occasional words. Clues slowly reveal that what lies beneath is a painting of an 18th century antique map representing and symbolizing the old world. With Mirror Globe (Mapping the New World), Benson creates a pixilated, flickering landscape uniquely combining the old and the new, the past and the present.