Jeremy Millar

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Black Mirror

Spoken word performance, approx. 25 minutes
18 June 2008, Whitechapel Art Gallery

As writer-in-residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Maria Fusco invited Brian Dillon to programme the first of a series of events titled 'Living Clay'. Following an earlier reading of his in Dublin, which took place in the dark, Brian proposed that this event should take place in darkness and be on darkness also; in addition to himself, Brian invited Sally O'Reilly and myself to contribute also.
     As reading a prepared text was impossible, the talk had to be done from my own rather dim memory. During this time I spoke on Edmund Burke and the sublime; Robert Smithson's journeys in the Yucatan; Tezcatlipoca and the Mayan uses of obsidian; Dr John Dee, and his 'Devil's Looking Glass'; Horace Walpole; Pope John XXII and the excommunication of those convicted of catoptromancy; and Borges' story 'The Mirror of Ink'. Before the talk I also placed a small piece of obsidian beneath every seat in the room — the stone has traditionally been used to diminish negative thoughts — and these were then taken by the audience at the performances' end.

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