Demet Adiguzel, Mirror mirror on the wall / Identity Factory, 2012

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Trimester 3, 2012.

Mirror mirror on the wall / Identity Factory


How do we construct our identity? How does it construct us?
The project is based on the question of identity, asking questions on roles, freedom, gender and class.
Many things like biological aspects in which we see the role of gender and hormones form the identity.
Maybe our own identity is just a coincidence like being born as a man or a woman.
The type of family and culture that we born into will shape the identity involuntarily.
As a given name, is our identity that random?
And knowing this why are we still so attached to it?
In addition to what was given to us, we shape the rest and build our ego accordingly.
Ego becomes the ruler of all.
We shape the rest with how we look and dress.
The mask that is the body we own, the very shelter for the hidden, fragile soul, becomes the first thing that gives away a clue about our background, identity.
We judge each other according to what we see, give labels to certain things that for us define the background, the groups, cultures, communities and roles.
We simply become ‘other’ to each other.

I was an ‘other’ my whole life. Born into a minority, never felt belonging to any group, I could not grasp the shape of my identity. When I migrate to another country the feeling was more obvious.
Feeling lost and stateless, trying to find my identity; I ask these questions to myself.
Maybe knowing the answers would not help anything or give a way to explore it all.
But for my own journey, I would like to find my own identity by trying other identities on.

I wanted to hack my own system and identity to find its essence.
I divorced myself from my own identity, wore somebody else’s shoes and face the everyday world through somebody else’s eyes.

With this video installation, the purpose is to share the findings of being someone else with a “Do It Yourself” zone in which the visitor can experience the feeling of being in somebody else’s shoes!
In order to create an interactive and engaging environment with the concept, the work should be considered in two parts. The first part consists of the video recordings of the “Social Experiment”.

The Video :
I spent several days in an outfit which

  • I would not normally wear and
  • obviously states the beliefs of the person who wears it : A CHADOR.

I wanted to see how I would feel in it and how would people react to me, to see if anything would change in the way people treat me.
I came to class wearing the outfit and in the video, I included the interviews that I had made with the people I see almost everyday; my classmates.
In this video the interviews are revealed while the visuals show myself doing my morning routines in front of a bathroom mirror and then getting in the chador as an obvious transformation into another identity. I wanted it to be apparent that there is an absolute transformation with a simple piece of cloth and also emphasized it with the pieces from the interviews. For the recording of the mirror scene an iPhone 4 camera was used and the video was edited in a way to give a surveillance feel. The duration of the video is 7'32".
I have also shared my findings and opinions about that day in the essay : A Review On Hacking Identity

The second part was "TRY IT OUT" concept in which the visitors came to try the chador themselves, which was presented as a modern, fashionable dress next to a large mirror on the wall.
At first the chador was not recognizable as it was and looked like a nice dress on the dummy-model.
I asked the visitors to try the outfit on whilst asking them questions about their knowledge about this outfit, how they felt about it in general and after I helped them wear it on (assistance with trying it on is needed the first time), I turned them to the mirror and asked their opinion about how they looked and felt in it.
Further on, I asked them if they would like to go out wearing it to see what it felt like outside and how people would react to them.
Meanwhile all this process was recorded on a video camera and we recorded their opinions and findings.


  • Spending a day as a man,
  • Spending a day as a disabled person.



Video Stills

From the Creative Now / Installation day
Photo by Janis Klimanovs

Photo by Janis Klimanovs

Photo by Janis Klimanovs

Photo by Janis Klimanovs



The video can be seen on the common computer in LB studio.


Additional Information