Mirror State:
The Salt Flats of Northern Utah 

Jonathan Råberg
Claire McCahan
Ryan Packard
Erika Råberg

Virtual and Physical Video/Sound Installation
On view
Nov 12 – Dec 17, 2020

NOTE: The physical/in-person installation is currently closed due to public health guidelines.

Mirror State is a practice-research collaboration between four distinct disciplines: science, vocal performance, new music composition, and moving image. Traveling with notebooks, cameras, and recording equipment, four NeST fellows embarked on a trip in 2019 to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Northern Utah to explore ideas of perception, material, sensation, and time.

The project has been installed in two formats: online (web-based) and in-person by reservation at the Arbor Institute in Boulder, CO, USA. We invite you to visit both if you are able – the experience of the works is unique in each format.

Virtual / Online – includes all video and audio works + conversations between the artists and scientists about their practice, process, and experiences. The virtual installation is best experienced on a full screen with headphones for the full audio/visual experience. > go to mirrorstate.com

Physical / In Person – CURRENTLY CLOSED.  includes a full-wall projection of the video and sound works inside the gallery provides an immersive, embodied experience along with geologic rock samples from the Salt Flats in the space.

More about the Project:

Mirror State, originally conceived as a physical exhibition, evolved into a web-based installation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The result is an experiment in artistic adaption that embraces the expressive potential of the digital world to create an embodied experience. 

This online work will also be installed as an immersive projection with multi-channel sound in and on the Arbor Institute building. The interior gallery installation will be available for viewing in-person by reservation with public health guidelines.


This project is funded by the Nature, Science, Environment, and Technology (NeST) Studio for the Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder.

NEST logo

Both installations include experiential works created during the field inquiry through materials, data, video and sound installations that bring forth the immersive experience.

Their mission: to engage you with the landscape and its expressive potential through sight, sound, and scientific inquiry.

Some questions:

  • How do we understand the forces that caused an area the size of Lake Michigan to fill and dry up twenty-eight times in the past million years?
  • How can artistic interaction with natural materials open new avenues of scientific inquiry?
  • How does the human voice interact with its surroundings, and in what ways does the voice echo the earth?
  • Can the human voice be used to explore a geologic experience of time?
  • How can one articulate climate change sonically?
  • How might we explore the landscape visually in order to both document and transform what we are seeing?
  • What will a scientific eye reveal to an artist?
  • What role can art play in furthering  scientist’s understanding at these scales?