David Cotterrell

Mirror III - Horizon


Output: Artefact

Mirror III: Horizon is a two-channel video installation. The project examines the challenges to trust that can occur when identities cannot be verified. Filmed in Malta, contextualized by the island’s deep historical experience of visitors who arrived repeatedly by sea, the installation drew on the fluctuating paranoia of the contemporary refugee crisis. Mirror III examined what might possibly be communicated when words are broadcast to unknown recipients and the barriers to mutual empathy that may be exacerbated through distancing and distrust.

Mirror III was developed through research and conversations with residents and NGOs within Malta. Based on a synthesis of testimony and anecdotal evidence, an original script was authored as a series of fictional exchanges were devised between off-shore and a landbound protagonists.

Mirror III was developed as a live performance to camera. In preparation for Mirror III, a prototype iPhone app was developed to send, receive and interpret Morse Code and standalone translator devices were produced to facilitate long-range broadcast of messages. The script was performed by teams of artists performing the dialogue through intermittent light at the limit of each others’ view.

The project was first presented as part of the Creative Hub at the 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA) held in 2016 in Valletta, Malta.

The installation was subsequently exhibited within the solo exhibition, Three Mirrors and a Wall at Danielle Arnaud contemporary art in February 2017. The underpinning enquiry was explored within a presentation, ‘The Edges of Our World’ in 2017 and the artwork was further exhibited within, ‘Alternate Languages’ at the Royal Academy. It was a featured installation at the World Conference on Statelessness in 2019 and was later included within the online programme Mis(sing)-Communication, curated by Tess Charnley in 2020.

Research Output

Mirror III - Horizon

This project contains further videos that can accessed via the full case study below.

Research Method

Set against the dramatic edges of the island of Malta; against the fluctuating paranoia of the current refugee crisis; against the island’s deep historical experience of colonisers who arrived repeatedly by sea; Mirror III set out to examine what might possibly be communicated between strangers if their words were reduced to beams of light and their faces need never be revealed.

Key Methodologies:

Full Project Output

REF '21

To learn more about the output, methods and dissemination of this work, explore the full project submission.

Other Projects By

David Cotterrell