Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Broken reflections

click photo to enlarge
"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" is the title of the world's biggest mirror ball, twenty feet in diameter, located on Blackpool's south promenade. The ball, which is fixed on top of a pole and rotated by an electric motor, has 47,000 small mirrors. On a sunny day points of light dance around the paving below. The mirror ball is the creation of Manchester artist, Michael Trainor, who named his work after the 1969 film about a non-stop dance marathon. It is one of a number of art installations on this part of the promenade. Recently six spotlights have been placed nearby to give a variety of nightime lighting effects.

But is it art? I don't think so - it's simply a ball on a pole. It is, in my judgement, and despite its fancy title, no deeper than that. But like most people who see it, I like it a lot! It's fascinating and it's fun! From a distance it looks other-worldly. From up close the rotating surface flickers and reflects in a scattered and crazed fashion. When it was installed in 2002 the artist was quoted as saying that "it will reflect 47,000 images of Blackpool, from the Irish Sea to the Tower. More than anything else it will reflect the people looking into it." What it actually does is reflect broken fragments of the surroundings, and never reflects enough of a person for them to be recognisable. But that doesn't stop people looking, and it hasn't stopped me photographing it on a number of occasions!

My photograph above shows the reflections on part of its surface, including the surrounding paving, the shadow of the ball on its pole, railings, a steel bench, a red litter bin, the sea wall, the Irish Sea and the sky.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen