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Joan Jonas

Mirage

1976/2001

Artist

Joan Jonas (1936-)

Title

Mirage

Date

1976/2001

Medium

16mm film, black-and-white, silent, 31 min.; video projection, black-and-white, sound, 30 min.; two videotapes transferred to laserdisc shown on a monitor: May Windows, black-and-white, sound, 14 min.; Good Night, Good Morning, black-and-white, sound, 12 min.; both repeated continuously

Dimensions

Dimensions variable

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Film and Video Committee

Accession number

2002.158

Object Label

Mirage was designed specifically for the screening room of Anthology Film Archives in New York's SoHo neighborhood, where Joan Jonas first performed the piece on several nights over a few weeks in 1976, for an audience of her friends: local artists, musicians, and dancers. In the first performances, Jonas projected images of herself drawing and erasing her marks on a chalkboard—some appropriated from her past works—as well as a five-minute documentary loop of volcanoes erupting and a film of a television turned on its side. She also stepped through a small wooden hoop and completed other live actions. Mirage was the last of a series of black and white video performances completed by Jonas; she would subsequently adopt color technologies. In 2001, Jonas made a new version of Mirage, consisting of a silent, approximately thirty-minute loop which, in the artist’s words, “is a combination of old performances, more chalk drawings and footage shot off the television at that time.”