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About This Artwork
Miko No Inori, 1996
Video (VHS), transferred to digital, color, sound; 29:23 min. loop
Gift of Donna and Howard Stone, 2007.37
Modern and Contemporary Art
Not on Display
Working with a studio of designers and technicians, Mariko Mori uses sophisticated technology to realize ambitious productions in diverse media including video, large-scale photography, and 3-D imaging. Turning to fashion, pop culture, and science fiction as aesthetic templates, she creates high-gloss digital dreamscapes that refer to Buddhist thought and religious iconography while presenting an optimistic vision of a technological future. Melding Eastern and Western forms and mixing transcendental themes with open appeals to visual pleasure, the artist proposes a cultural condition in which aesthetics, spirituality, and technology intermingle.
Miko No Inori, which translates as the Shaman-Girl’s Prayer, is set in a digitally transformed version of Osaka’s international airport, which seems to be at once a vaulted temple and a sleek, futuristic space. As in many of her videos, Mori appears as a cyborg—a fantasy woman, half-machine, half-human—in this instance, dressed in a white, iridescent costume that complements her reflective ice blue eyes. She cradles and caresses a glass sphere while a haunting pop song plays. The figure recalls a fortune-teller with her proverbial crystal ball, but she also invites other interpretations that coexist uneasily: she can be seen as a bodhisattva—a spiritual guide who forgoes nirvana out of compassion for those who suffer—but she also resembles a model promoting a new product, gazing directly at the audience with her glass orb seductively in hand.