The blog of author Dennis Cooper



Urs Fischer
Jeppe Hein
Tatiana Trouvé
Arran Gregory
John Miller
Phillip K. Smith III
Jonas Lund
Simon Starling
Devorah Sperber
Daniel Buren
Carsten Höller
Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Michelangelo Pistoletto
Jim Hodges
Sylvie Fleury
Mike Kelley
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Daniel Rozin
Oscar Muñoz
Sam Durant
Jakob Simonson


Urs Fischerr Various works (2013)


Jeppe Hein Mirror Wall (2009)
A huge mirror is mounted onto a wall. When visitors enter the space the mirror starts moving subtly and wavelike. Visitors facing the mirror will be irritated by the vibrating reflection of themselves and their surrounding. This sensation causes not only a vague feeling of dizziness but also a latent distrust of one’s own eyes and spatial perception. As the mirror displays a different picture of the location, viewers question their position in the room.


Tatiana Trouvé From here I disappear (2009)
From here I disappear is a tantalising series of plexiglass doors and mirrors that form a threshold we can only cross mentally, yet that opens a vista of multiple possibilities.


Arran Gregory Wolf (2012)


John Miller Lost (2016)
The labyrinthine installation, aptly titled Lost, has been constructed in the Atrium Gallery at ICA Miami as part of a solo exhibition of Miller’s work. Covering approximately 74 square metres, the site-specific maze is built from acrylic mirrors mounted on wood frames. “With the mirrored labyrinth, Miller creates an environment that disorients by creating reflections of the self,” said Alex Gartenfeld, the museum’s deputy director and chief curator. Both the external walls and internal partitions are covered in mirrors, arranged to encompass the room’s structural columns and create a winding route.




Phillip K. Smith III Lucid Stead (2013)
At first glance, the Lucid Stead installation looks like an ordinary wooden cabin, but as you come closer it starts to transform into a unique viewing device that reveals and augments the changing colors and subtle movements of the California desert. Artist Phillip K. Smith, III took a 70-year-old homesteader shack, equipped it with LED lights, mirrors and Arduino programming and created an interactive structure that reflects sunlight during the day and turns into floating rectangular fields of color at night.


Jonas Lund Mirror Mirror (2016)
Mirror Mirror is a ‘smart’ mirror showing an ever changing collection of adjectives inspired by different attributes within the technological scene combined with traditional superlatives within contemporary art. As the viewer approaches the piece, the changing adjectives confronts the onlooker to take a position if the currently active description is in relation to their perceived self-image. Once an appropriate adjective has been found, it’s simple to snap a selfie to further strengthen that position.


Devorah Sperber Transporter: Kirk and Spock Beaming-In (2008)
2 beaded figures hanging in front of mirror panels installed in a corner to create the illusion of 6 figures beaming in, 100,000+ loose beads on mixed medium platform.


Simon Starling Venus Mirrors (2012)
Venus mirrors (05/06/2012, Hawaii & Tahiti inverted), 2012, invoke the perceptual, distorting and inverting effects of cameras obscura, speculum mirrors found in telescopes, magnifying glasses and photographic lenses. The mirrors present the 2012 transit as it was observed in June 2012 from Tahiti and Hawaii – sites visited by the artist and significant in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century observations.


Daniel Buren Prisms, Colors and Mirrors: High-Relief (2017)
Buren created the notion of in situ work in the field of fine arts, to characterize a practice intrinsically tied to the topological and cultural specificity of the places where the work is presented. His more recent offerings are ever-increasingly complex architectural instruments that constantly dialogue with the existing architecture and involve an alteration of space, a playful multiplication of materials (wood, vinyl, mirrors, plastic materials, grids), and an explosion of color.


Carsten Höller Sliding Doors (2003)
Sliding Doors consists of five electronic sliding doors with mirrored surfaces on both sides, through which a viewer can walk in an apparently endless passage. The doors are installed at evenly-spaced intervals in a corridor-like space and are connected to motion sensors that cause them to slide open when someone approaches and close shut when the person moves away. As a result, the movements of viewers alternately break and bind the visual limits of the space, which can be entered from either end of the corridor, increasing the likelihood of unexpected encounters as the doors open and close.


Felix Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (Orpheus, Twice) (1991)




Alfredo Pirri Contemporary Steps (2011)
An official runs along a broken mirror art installation by Italian artist Alfredo Pirri as visitors tour contemporary art displayed at the war bunker, near the town of Konjic, just south of Sarajevo, Bosnia. The once secret bunker, built to shelter Yugoslavia’s Marshal Josip Broz Tito and the communist leadership from a nuclear war, is some 280 metres underground.


Michelangelo Pistoletto Mirror Paintings (1962 – 1982)


Jim Hodges Folding (into a Greater World) (1998)
Folding (into a greater world) is a 6-by-8 foot surface covered in small, square chips of mirror that cast mottled light onto the gallery walls. Imperfectly aligned rows and columns keep these works in motion; a rigorous grid would make them too stiff and static. Such unpredictability stifles the handy shortcuts we normally use to make quick cognitive decisions—judgements made to register stimuli without getting bogged down in the process of really looking. In Hodges’ work, small tiles, chips and light bulbs fail to coalesce into holistic images so we are forced to study each individual component.


Sylvie Fleury Razor Blades (2000)


Mike Kelley Silver Ball (1994)
Aluminum foil, polyurethane foam, wood, chicken wire, speakers, four boom boxes, space blanket, three baskets, artificial fruit, and audio

The audio:


Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian Mirror Balls (2003 – 2016)
A master metalworker once told Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian that “everything is in geometry.” The Iranian artist, now 90 years old, took those words to heart, using geometric forms to connect the mathematical patterns of Iranian tradition with the minimalist shapes of Western abstraction. “My work is largely based on geometry,” Monir explained to ArtForum, “which, as you know, always begins with a single point and can move from there into a circle. Or a point can become three leading to a triangle, or four to a square, five to a pentagon, hexagon, octagon, and so on — it’s endless.”


Daniel Rozin Penguins Mirror (2015)
450 stuffed animals, motors, control electronics, xbox kinect motion sensor, mac-mini computer, custom software, tin bases, mirror


Oscar Muñoz Aliento (Breath) (1996–2002)
The work is made up of highly polished metal disks, the surface of which has been printed using a grease photosilkscreen process. Viewers have to breathe on the surface of the disks to reveal pictures of victims of political violence. Using photographs taken out of their original context, the work acts as a visual and political metaphor exploring the theme of disappearance.


Sam Durant Partially Buried 1960s/70s Dystopia Revealed (Mick Jagger at Altamont) & Utopia Reflected (Wavy Gravy at Woodstock) (1998)
Two rectangular mirrors lie on the floor with mounds of dirt, large enough to conceal a body but in actuality covering speakers playing two different soundtracks simultaneously. Both are edited to stop and start in a stuttering manner: one of Wavy Gravy welcoming the audience to Woodstock, the other of Mick Jagger pleading with the Altamont crowd with phrases like, “Why are we fighting?” Recalling Smithson’s “non-sites” comprised of piles of earth taken from an exterior site and placed within geometric containers or right-angled mirror constructions in the gallery space along with other documentation of the site, Durant alters perceptions of these minimalist constructions. Through the use of scale and sound he transforms the raw materials into a statement about the disillusionment felt at the end of the 1960s.”


Jakob Simonson Cameras (2012 – 2013)
Dibond mirror, wood, 45x95x63 cm




p.s. Hey. ‘Permanent Green Light’ now has an official Facebook page if you want to keep up with what’s going on re: the film. The link is in the blog’s righthand column. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yeah, she’s pretty little like Genet as a writer/stylist. Wonderful thoughts, thank you so much. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Yeah, what with the blog and everything, the thought of shitty, unreliable internet makes me shudder. There must be better service available than what you have, no? The good thing is that I have this brain that, I don’t know, compartmentalises things, I guess, so it is possible to do a bunch of things at the same time, although in terms of the actual writing, it’s hard for me to switch around because I need to immerse myself in something to write it. But I can write the mystery project, think/plan about the film, and make blog posts all at once, although the post-making is suffering a bit at this crazy busy time. I agree that going for the translating job is a good idea. I don’t know that you need to have a deep grasp of the esoteric yourself to translate the text of someone who does, but you might have to google things occasionally? That sounds like a cool and exciting thing to do. My day was lots of work. I snuck out to see a little art with Zac, nothing so great, but fun to do. We finally got the green light to send out the invitations to the cast and crew screening pf ‘PGL’ on February 3rd, so we did that happily. We’re so excited for the cast to finally get to see themselves in the film after having been forced to make them wait so ridiculously long. But, yeah, otherwise it was me at the computer typing and staring meaningfully into space when I wasn’t. How was your Friday? ** Steve Erickson, Hi, Steve. So have you pretty much lost all interest in that particular script? As you probably know, ‘Candy Apple Gray’ happened in the waning days of the time when some major labels used to think it was worth putting out records by quality aka critically revered bands, and that the big bands’ sales would make up for breaking even or taking a loss re: records that mostly gathered acclaim only. The grunge era when Sonic Youth and Melvins and Jawbreaker and others had mostly very brief stints at major labels seems to have been that period’s death knell. Sounds good about your gig days-like posts. I’ll be an attendee. Ha ha, no, I think our rosters will separate nicely, albeit with the occasional crossover perhaps. Wouldn’t shock me. ** Armando, Hi. Cool, awesome, thank you. I’m super busy working on a new film script with Zac, and another script, and doing the stuff needed now that ‘PGL’ is being born. I will of course announce the future ‘PGL’ showings. I think it’ll be festival only showings for a while. Novels are hard and time-consuming for sure, even for me and I write constantly. I’m glad to hear you’re still working on yours. ‘Three Billboards’ is playing here, and I kind of want to see it, but not passionately. Have a fine day. ** Jamie, Ay-up, Jamie! (I’m not sure I used that correctly) I hear you about books. I have a leaning book tower of Pisa just to my left. Yeah, really sad about Mark E Smith. So singular. The Fall are one of those bands, — and, actually, I can’t think of very many if any others — who, when I hear one of their tracks, I end up spending a week listening to almost nothing but them because, once you’re in their space, nothing else satisfies. God, that’s intense about that late gig. I hadn’t seen The Fall live in years. I saw them extremely early, in ’78, then in the mid-80s during the Brix period, and then one last time in the 90s. Jesus, me too about the contracts. The bullshit around something that should have been as simple as pie is driving me a bit mad. Plus, there’s actually decent money payment involved, and, you know, I really need some. No, no title for the new film yet. A total blank thus far on that front. I’ve only seen those two excerpts in the post from the ‘T&A’ film. It looks interesting, although not as interesting, based on those clues, as the novel by any means. May your today be like a party where Steven Spielberg shows up, walks straight over to you and says, ‘I will pay you 1,000,000 pounds not to star in my new movie.’ Pizzacato Five love, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Not that simple, man. One of life’s more luxurious bonus rounds. Enjoy the shit out of it, and it sounds like you’re maxing it out wonderfully. Yeah, based on a glance, totally, about getting Creative Dundee involved in the YnY reboot. And your ribs are gentle-izing! That’s not a real word?! ** Bernard, Hi. Oh, fantastic, great that you responded to Tom’s idea with thumbs up. Tomk, just in case you missed it, see Bernard’s comment from yesterday. Thank you, B! ** Misanthrope, There’s something strangely very pleasurable about imagining one’s tooth being gradually and carefully but violently twisted and yanked out of one’s thoroughly anesthetized mouth. How that would feel yet not feel, I guess I mean. Strange. And congrats! ** Right. Today I made one of those posts that I seem to be interested in making once in a while, this time about mirrors. Hope it provides enjoyment, etc. See you tomorrow.


  1. Dóra Grőber


    I love posts like today’s. Thank you! I especially liked ‘Contemporary Steps’ by Alfredo Pirri.

    This is the biggest company around here but now that I’m looking into it, there must be some other options and we’ll go for one of them. I’d like to solve this as soon as possible now, gosh.
    I envy your brain or how it functions a little! I have to fully concentrate on the thing I’m doing (or… I have to at least try) or I get sloppy so I always have these lists of the things I have to complete and I go one by one.
    I got a book from the esoteric lady yesterday and we agreed that I’ll translate a chapter by sometime next week. That way I’ll see if I can manage by, yes, google’s aid and if she’s satisfied with the result too. I’m optimistic.
    God, this sounds amazing! I’m very excited to hear what the cast thinks about the final film and their own performances! Please let me know when it’s time!

    I spent some time reading the book this morning, then I wrote some e-mails and now I’m soon off to meet a dear friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in too long. I’ll spend the night at her place with another of our friends. I expect it to be a cozy, joyous, “easy” evening. I’m looking forward to it.
    What happened today on your end? Any highlights? I hope the mystery project keeps on progressing satisfyingly!

  2. Steve Erickson

    That script was written during the run-up to Trump’s election, and it’s explicitly set in that period. I didn’t manage to compete it by the time he actually did get elected, and that fact made the ending I came up with seem wholly inadequate as a response to American racism. I thought about revamping it into a one-act play and setting it 30 years in the future for a festival of sci-fi plays performed this fall, but I’ve done no work on this and I’m now more interested in my new screenplay. But the deadline for the play festival is July, so there is still lots of time.

    In retrospect, it’s insane that major labels thought they could make money off bands like Giant Sand and Moonshake (whose three albums all came out in the U.S. on indie labels that were distributed by majors at the time.) Sonic Youth are one of the few bands who did get long-term support from a major label and seemed to benefit from it, but they never had a hit single or gold album, although DIRTY sold something like 350,000 copies. The Flaming Lips are still on Warner Bros. and they did get both a hit single and gold album, and Warners seems willing to put out their weird side projects like a cover of DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. But it was a really bad idea for 90% of those bands, to the point where I’m wondering why Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear all signed to majors in the past year or two after experiencing a fair amount of commercial success on Indies. Especially when I looked up the current roster of Elektra when I was trying to figure out how to get a promo copy of Brandi Carlile’s new album: they only have 11 artists, I had only heard of 3 of them, and some of their iconic former artists like Metallica and Bjork are now on indie labels. Loma Vista and Nonesuch are the only major labels left that seem to have interesting A&R departments.

    • Steve Erickson

      I’ve heard that DGC signed Cell, a band consisting of Sonic Youth roadies, in the post-grunge euphoria and upon SY’s urging, and the resulting album is their lowest seller ever, barely selling 3,000 copies.

  3. tomk

    Hey Dennis,

    Yes, I just rushed to see Bernhard’s reply and have written to him. I also think the google docs idea would work out the easiest way of doing it.

    To Everybody: If you are interested in being part of an online writing workshop please email me at

    I think if we have 5-10 (or more even participants) per workshop it could be ace. I think we could alternate shortish pieces (20 pages double spaced) every other week and maybe have some longer pieces percolating over an extended time frame. I don’t know. Lets see.

    Dennis you’re cordially invited too, to dip in and out as and if you please though i’m not sure i still have your email address.

    Also, this day is one of the reason’s i’ve missed this place so much. Great and interesting stuff which i wish i had more time to delve into right now.

    • Jamie

      Hi tomk,
      I’m very interested in the writing workshop. I’ll email you over the weekend, if that’s cool. Great idea!

  4. David Ehrenstein

    Speaking of Mirrors Don’t forget Lucas Samaras

  5. David Ehrenstein

    Not to mention Jean Cocteau

  6. Bill

    Sorry about the radio silence, Dennis. Been an intense week at work (already!) Good to hear you got the green light (haha) for upcoming PGL activities.

    Love the mirror pieces. The Mirror Wall is giving me lots of ideas.

    Caught Liquid Sky at a small screening room (sold out on a Monday night!). Very entertaining, but does not date well.


  7. Sypha

    Dennis, this might entertain you. Last night I had a dream where I was watching some two hour Muppets special on TV and in the credits at the beginning you were listed as a co-writer. You even had a cameo in the special, playing a chauffeur driving a limousine, in the backseat of which were, you know, Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear and what have you. You didn’t have any lines though, and I have no idea where you were driving them to, or even what the plot of the special was (if there even was a plot).

    I do admit to looking forward to my dreams every night, if only because I’m often amused by the bits of surrealistic nonsense the dark recesses of my mind regurgitate. It would probably be more beneficial for my moribund horror career were I to frequent suffer nightmares (a problem that often plagued H.P. Lovecraft and, to use a more contemporary example, Thomas Ligotti), but probably better for my mental health that I do not!

  8. Jamie

    Hi Dennis!
    “It’s fascinating to observe what the mirror does…” indeed! Marvelous post. I pretty much like everything here. Those penguins are a joy and I’d love to see some of Daniel Burens’ pieces irl. Love those Jim Hodges surfaces also and the title’s pretty nice too. Think I’ve gone through this post about five times so far, smiling like a big idiot. Thanks!
    So true what you say about the Fall, except when I go through a Fall jag (approx once a year) I can’t listen to anything else for months. All other music not only pales, but sounds like a it’s made of a different and way less interesting material, or something. I kind of feel like he doesn’t get enough props for what a unique and innovative vocalist he was too – like a lot of people, understandably, just hear that later period Fall when he was almost a parody of himself, but on the first three albums (plus), his melodies, rhythms, intonations etc are mind blowing. I took acid for a Fall gig to celebrate my 16th birthday. It wasn’t great.
    How was your day? Hope your many projects are behaving themselves in a way that pleases you.
    Hannah’s off to a conference on avant-garde 60s writers, where she’s presenting on Anna Kavan. And since she got the Muriel Spark grant some publisher has contacted her and asked if she’d like to write them a piece about Ann Quin. It’s nice to see all her hard work begin to pay off a little.
    You got any weekend plans? I’m going to write and take it easy. I’d like to watch some movies, so if you have any great suggestions let me know, please!
    May your weekend be like a trip to Oz, but without the flying monkeys, unless you like those flying monkeys, in which case they’ll be flapping around merrily. Oh, and if you see that good witch, I hear she’s a dab hand at getting contracts sped, signed and sealed!
    Perfectly executed love,

  9. Cal Graves

    Hey Dennis,

    I love the shack out in the desert, very magic.
    Paranormal shows are top notch tv. Super spooky. I found another that’s all about Psychic kids that has this super creepy undertone of parents using their kids as money makers. At least that’s how it feels from a cynical pov.
    The first half of the poetry class is almost nothing but the classics, Hardy, Hopkins, Yeats, Elliot, Pound. Pretty lame. But then we get into some Beats, Naruda, some other stuff. The prof is open to suggestion so Im gonna try to get some more contemporary stuff put in there.
    Wish i could see PGL at the screening. One day I’ll get it.

  10. _Black_Acrylic

    Great show today, I esp love the Farmanfarmaian disco balls with Iranian patterning. A quick look on YouTube reveals that Iranian disco is an actual thing and I bet some of it’s good too. But the time’s getting a bit late to fall down that particular rabbit hole.

  11. Keithanne

    Neato day. My favorite mirror is probably a “Mirrorball” Iceman. “My heart’s full of terror I see the devil in the mirror.” I love the French word for mirror, mirar. I was going to write a story about a twink who couldnt see himself in a mirror, well, his bottom anyway. When toilet paper isnt positioned correctly, its like a mirror, its an easy fix, you simply turn it around horizontally. Terrible body dismorphia. Ol’ Keaton’s really put ’em on, and I’ll be damned if my Dad didn’t tell me to stay out of the sun, it’s marking my face. Exiting news, got my results back from my genetic test. I have a 100% West African 5th-generation great-grandparent, otherwise, English/Irish/French/German and a little Neanderthal and Asian. Writing a Mars story. Strange things on TV these days, it’s like a 90’s rehashfest. Menendez, Waco, Versace.

  12. Kyler

    Good morning, Dennis, mirrors play an important part of both my novels, so I was very interested in this post. Nice! I love the trailer for PGL and really look forward to seeing it. It’s hard to imagine a parent who believes in the paranormal – I would have loved to have a mother or father like that! But naturally, we rebel, or at least I do, with the way our parents are/were. My father, toward the end of his life, is having some weird experiences, which are commonly called dementia, but I interpret them differently. I think he’s getting ready for “the other side.” – And even my sister, who’s a psychoanalyst, agrees. She said the terminology might be different, but she agrees that he’s getting ready to move on. So it’s pretty fascinating to interpret the “being” who is sleeping next to him in bed at night. Very much open to interpretation, I say. In my work, I don’t see ghosts or beings, but I do hear messages of specific names and stuff, which are confirmed all the time as being accurate. There’s a lot going on out there – and right here too! I think if we look in the mirror – deeply – we’ll find the answers.

  13. Allanreabe

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