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Nostalgic for mirror funhouses of fairgrounds long-gone but also want the perfect #InstaWorthy shot? Been to Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room and couldn’t get enough of all the mirrors, and let’s be real, checking yourself out in all of them? Toronto’s international arts festival Luminato has got your thirst for the next best Instagram spot covered, as they’ve brought the trippy House of Mirrors across the Pacific for its North American premiere. The art installation, a 400-square metre mirror maze is angled perfectly for unexpected encounters and your next selfie, will be a multi-sensory experience that visitors can walk in and, hopefully, out of.
Melbourne-based artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney have installed this mirror maze over 12.5 feet high right in the middle of Toronto’s Harbourfront, creating an intricate open-air maze that is all at once completely bewildering and reality-bending, and also strangely addicting. Wagstaff comments on the duo’s artistic intent saying, “We wanted to remind people that a moving experience—beyond theatre or film—that a physical environment around you can be achieved using basic elements like mirror, steel, and timber, and then configuring it in a way that becomes a really beautiful experience; so it’s a non-digital but optical experience, so there’s an illusion that goes on, and remind people that illusions are all around us all the time and they’re not necessarily digital.”
First thing you’ll probably do when you enter? Bump straight into a mirror, or at least that’s what we did when we first walked into what seemed like a completely different dimension. It’s dizzying, as the mirrors are angled so strategically that you’re not ever sure if what’s in front of you is a reflection or navigable space. But fear not—it’s not black magic, just pure math. The clever configuration of the mirrors is based off a triangulation formula created by an inventor in the late 1800s, that was then tweaked and blown up.
Wagstaff also noted that House of Mirrors is about breaking screen addiction, liberating folks from “staring at their mobile phones and their computers for a period of time” and completely immersing them in an old-school illusion that can transform the way people see the world. Indeed, the installation “rewires your brain” and can disorient the senses enough to “make you question everything—reality, distance, space, you.”
Toronto will be the 12th city to host House of Mirrors, but the viewing experience is guaranteed to be one that is totally unique to the 6ix, as the open-air installation reflects and takes on the unique characteristics of the cityscape surrounding it. On average, people take around 30 minutes to fully experience the whole exhibition, but as always allot more time for your visit. And since you’re here, we’ll let you in on an exclusive pro-tip from the creators—go around twilight to watch the brilliance of a waterfront sunset refracted to infinity in the mirrors and get your money’s worth. House of Mirrors is on display from June 7-23, with free access during Luminato’s Opening Weekend (Saturday June 8 and Sunday June 9) and free music performances to boot.
What: House of Mirrors at the 2019 Luminato Festival
Where: Exhibition Common at the Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West) aka the outdoor area between Harbourfront Centre and the Queens Quay Terminal Building. The exhibition is full accessible with a ramp to enter the maze and a ramp to exit.
When: June 7-23, 2019. The exhibition is open daily from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., with last entry at 10:30 p.m.
How much: Tickets are $10 and only available for purchase at the box office tent beside the House of Mirrors. The Box Office is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.. Admission is free for children under five.