Mirror II: Distance is a dual-screen video installation. It was produced as the result of two field trips to Pakistan in 2015 focussing on the heavily fortified diplomatic enclave of Islamabad. The research considered the objectification that can be fostered through protocols for risk management and the varied experience of distancing that occurs between international observers and communities that they are interacting with. Through the development of an experimental projection system and a scripted spatial soundscape, an allegorical representation of the sight-line between two observers was created. The installation was constructed to highlight a contextual polarisation of view and devised to challenge audiences’ assumptions of authorship and power.
Cotterrell trialled the filming methodology with collaborators in Pakistan and then developed the final version of the project with an international cast through a commission from the Science Gallery, Dublin. The artwork was first publicly exhibited within the exhibition, ‘Seeing’ in September 2016. It was presented using an experimental form of collimated projection, developed in collaboration with the simulation engineer, Geoff Blackham and incorporated a script, co-written the playwright, Ruwanthie de Chickera.
The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue and a public programme of talks. The artwork was later shown within Cotterrell’s 2017 solo exhibition, ‘Three Mirrors and a Wall’ at Danielle Arnaud contemporary art gallery, London.
The underpinning research for Mirror II informed a series of public lectures including a paper, ‘Empathy and Risk’ presented at the Trust for History, Art, Architecture of Pakistan conference in Lahore and a presentation, ‘Mirror’ for World Theatre Forum, 18th Bharat Rang Mahotsav International Theatre Festival in Delhi. The underpinning research for Mirror II informed Cotterrell’s evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group, ‘Building Resilience to Radicalisation in MENA’ and led to Cotterrell’s appointment to the interdisciplinary Community of Practice on Preventing Violent Extremism.