Mine Mirror

 Artist Sarah Schönfeld and architectural studio Zeller & Moye have been chosen to install a permanent public artwork on the NMSU main campus in Las Cruces, NM. The piece will consist of mirrors made from melted hard drives full of YOUR DATA. Over 3,000 people from the NMSU community followed the link and upload their files of their thesis, lectures, or anything they  learned and/or gained knowledge from during their time at NMSU. Once the drives were full of data they were melted down– now the mirrors will be installed in the computer lab in Hardman Jacobs ULC, and you will be a part of the art piece MINE MIRROR.

 The hard drives are made of aluminum, ruthenium, and cobalt-nickel-iron. The metals are extracted through a recycling process known urban mining. Next, the metals are transformed into mirrors through a melting process. The metal is melted down applied in a thin layer on glass undergoing vacuum evaporation, a process where liquid evaporates at a lower temperature than usual, similar to telescope making.   

The resulting product is metal-coated glass that imitate mirrors, which store the university’s knowledge within them. The plates will be assembled in a multi-facetted pattern. This unique arrangement allows users of the HJLC computer center to see each other and the space from a different perspective. The resulting mirror landscape visualizes the participatory (a lot of people working together) aspect of individuals coming together to work collectively on knowledge production. Simultaneously, users are offered a new perspective on their own activities in form of a playful and non-digital experience, enabled through the abstracted knowledge now being a reflective surface.

Follow this link to see what the mine mirror website looked like: minemirror.net

Mine Mirror was awarded the 1st prize in an international open competition for a site-specific artwork within the HJULC of the NMSU organized by the New Mexico Arts Division and commissioned by the State of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. The artwork is currently under production and will be completed and installed in December of 2019. 


Archive of the Mine Mirror Website:

Mine Mirror Project Q & A:

Q: Where will the mirror art be displayed?

A: The mirror art will be displayed on the south wall of the ICT computer lab in Hardman and Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center.  The file names will be displayed on the opposite wall.

Q: Will the information on the files I uploaded be viewable in the art?

A: No.  Your files will be uploaded to the hard drives of the artist’s computer.  Once a sufficient number of files are collected, the hard drives will be removed from the computer, dismantled, and the platters on which the files are stored will be melted and made into the mirror art.  All the information on the files will be destroyed, but in spirit will be contained in the mirror art.

Q: Will the file names be part of the art?

A: Yes.  The file names will be displayed on the north wall of the ICT computer lab in Hardman and Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center, opposite of the wall on which the Mine Mirrors will be mounted.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the type of files?

A: Yes. There are some restrictions on the files that can be uploaded as shown below:

  • Accepted files include: .avi, .doc, .docx, .gif, .jpeg, .mp3, .mp4, .pdf, .png, .pptx .txt, .wav, .xlsx, .zip
  • Not accepted files include: .ai, .bat, .blend, .bmp, .dll, .exe, .fbx, .html, .obj, .psd, .rar, .rtf, .tga, .tif, .spp, .xml

Q: What are the Terms and Conditions to which I must agree in order for my data to be part of the Mine Mirror project?

A: You will need to agree to the following terms and conditions in order to upload your information:

I certify that I am the owner of the information contained in the uploaded file and that I authorize the use of the data contained therein in the manner outlined at https://uag.nmsu.edu/mine-mirror/. I further certify that the file I am uploading does not contain sensitive, restricted, or confidential information.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the information that I am uploading.

A: Even though the information you upload will be destroyed during the mirror creation process, you should not upload any file containing sensitive, restricted, or confidential in nature.  Especially refrain from uploading files containing social security numbers, bank account numbers, passwords to accounts and systems, etc.

Q: Are there any restrictions on the file names?

A: Any file name is acceptable as long as 1) it does not contain a Social Security Number with an associated name and 2) is not profane or disparaging of another individual. The file names will be shown in a very public place.

Q: Is there a limit on the file size?

A: Yes.  There is a 50Mb limit.  

Q: How many files are needed for the project?

A: The target number is 3,000 files.  If more than 3,000 files are uploaded, they will be included in the mirrors.  However, the maximum number of file names that will be displayed on the north wall of the Hardman Jacobs Undergraduate Learning Center is 3,000.  

Q: Who is allowed to upload files?

A: Any NMSU student, faculty, or staff member can upload files.

Q: What is the deadline for uploading files?

A:  End of day on April 19, 2019.

More information about this project coming soon.