Interactive art installation, Mirror Mirror, asks deep questions for Chinook Centre dwellers

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Chinook Centre visitors enter a room bathed in near-blinding light and foggy haze. Swinging chairs hang from the ceiling. An explanation of the installation called Moodscape starts with the question: “What’s your weather like today?”

The room moves through various colours — reds, blues and yellows — meant to reflect “the weather of our inner worlds.”

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It is a compelling, if perhaps momentarily disorienting, experience and likely not one mall-dwellers who have popped into Chinook looking for shoe sales and a cinnamon bun will be expecting.

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Moodscape is perhaps the trippiest of the nine art installations that are part of Mirror Mirror, a new immersive experience at the shopping centre that invites visitors to take a break from shopping and plunge themselves into an often surreal, fever dream of lights, lasers, music, mirrors and A.I.

Visitors explore Moment Factory’s immersive art installation Mirror Mirror at Chinook Centre on Feb. 2, 2024.Gavin Young/Postmedia Gavin Young/Postmedia

“We love to play with perception and illusion, we’re also going to base the experience on emotion,” says Marie Belzil of Montreal’s Moment Factory, the multimedia studio that created Mirror Mirror.

“When we were looking at this, we thought that this was central: What we do is all about play and what’s happening in your head. It is art, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s very accessible, so closer to entertainment in a way. But it can be interpreted at different levels. Some people will just go through it and have fun, and others will reflect on the piece.”

Mirror Mirror
Visitors explore Moment Factory’s immersive art installation Mirror Mirror at Chinook Centre. Gavin Young/Postmedia Gavin Young/Postmedia

Mirror Mirror allows visitors to explore nine immersive installations inspired by heady themes such as memory, imagination, identity, dreams and consciousness.

In Memory Storage, visitors use their mobile devices to answer questions about their past and share memories to activate a light show that will feature a keyword. Those words are then cobbled together by A.I., with memories of other visitors to make up a poem.

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Forest of Echoes features laser lights and a maze of mirrors. River of Now involves visitors jumping across rock-like platforms to blasts of colour and music. Mirrors of Tomorrow has visitors asking questions to themselves about their future before pulling a tarot card that offers new-agey snippets such as “What will you contribute to the infinite realm of knowledge?’ ”

Mirror Mirror launched in Montreal and Australia before coming to Calgary. Moment Factory has worked with a number of clients — from Billie Eilish and Madonna, to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and the Boston Museum of Science. It also created the Nightrise sound and light installation at the summit of the Banff Gondola.

The ticketed exhibit will run until the end of February but could be extended. It is located in the north court of Chinook Centre in the old Nordstrom space, which closed in June.

“For longer-term plans for the space, we’re still evaluating that,” says Darren Milne, general manager of CF Chinook Centre. “We are having a lot of different conversations with different tenants and trying to decide if we’re going to have one single tenant or two. We still think we’re going to have some time here over the course of 2024 to have different experiences.”

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