Mire.project: test pattern as mirror of society


If you do an online search for ‘mire’ you can find this word standing for various acronymous such as ‘Interactive Media Research’ or ‘Monitoring Innnovative Restructuring Europe’. However for French language its main litteral meaning is ‘test pattern’ and refers to the television signal, also known as test card, typically broadcast at times when the transmitter is active but no program is being broadcast (often at startup and closedown).Formerly a common sight intended to assist viewers in calibration of television sets, test cards are now only rarely seen outside of television studios, post-production, and distribution facilities where they are still used for alignment an calibration of camcorders. Several things have led to the demise of the test card. One of the main causes in developed countries are the financial imperatives of commercial television broadcasting where air-time is now typically filled with programs and commercials 24 hours a day, and non-commercial broadcasters have to match this. And this is the concept that mire.project revolves around. It started in November 2005, and it is intended as long term approach of street art expression, in the streets of Paris and elsewhere, on the subject of television test pattern. According to his strictly anonimous author (as it it convenient to every street artist) the ‘mire’ is a powerful universal symbol, evoking the world of television and media. It is at the same time a well know logo but with no commercial purpose. “It summarizes itself, with a few strips of colors and grey gradations, the whole cathodic era, its consequences on the world and the ascendancy that the television can have over us”. The aim of the project is rather cultural than political: its purpose is mainly to send that subliminal image back to the eyes of people, in order to consider what television has become and on the phenomenon of screen addiction. The mire is then like a mirror where modern society reflects (about) itself.
Valentina Culatti