Discovering Detroit: Mirage by Doug Aitken

Hi everyone,

Hope your week is going well! I’m finally revisiting the mini series that I started at the end of the summer about exploring and discovering Detroit. I figured I’d get to do a lot of that after moving to the city and then, well, medical school happened. Luckily I did get a chance to check out one of the art installations going on downtown during my quick winter break.

In my undergraduate art history days I mainly studied paintings and sculptures, but installation art has always fascinated me. I love the idea of art that interacts with its environment, is site specific, and is sometimes transient. When installations travel they adapt to their new exhibition spaces and might be a little different each time. This particular installation is called Mirage by artist Doug Aitken and is located at the magnificent State Savings Bank in downtown Detroit.


The building on its own is already stunning with its soaring arches and coffered ceiling. Then factor in a literal house of mirrors – every surface reflecting the space around it – and constantly shifting lighting. The mirrors and changing lights actually made taking photos pretty tricky but created some really cool shots. Huge shout out to my good friend and surprisingly talented amateur photographer Patrick for coming on this adventure with me!

I’m not going to try and explain the full effect or meaning of the installation here since I’m sure the official website can do a far better job. The exhibit will only be in town until mid-February so I definitely recommend checking it out if you have a chance! Find more information about Mirage by clicking here.

Since the installation is centered around reflections, I thought it was as good a time as any to reflect on what I want to achieve in 2019 (if you can forgive my painfully obvious wordplay).



A huge challenge looming in the (alarmingly) not so distant future is the last unit of this year of medical school – the notoriously difficult central nervous system. The head and neck have a million different nerves and, just when I thought I was comfortable with cutting into a dead body, we also have to uncover our cadaver’s face for dissections which I’m not even ready to think about. Essentially everything about this unit stresses me out and I’ve been mentally preparing myself for a potentially disappointing grade, but I’m sick of always bracing for failure. I’ve noticed that I stress out to the point of tears before every exam and always feel awful after taking them. Despite this, when I look at my scores and the class statistics, I’ve actually been staying ahead of the curve and doing relatively well.*** Not top of the class, but better than I always think I’ll do. Self-deprecation and low expectations are such easy defense mechanisms to shield ourselves from failure. However, having failed plenty of times in the past I know that I was able to pick myself up each and every time, so honestly I have nothing to be afraid of. This year I want to carry myself with more confidence and fuel myself based on ambition rather than fear of failure.

***Edit: totally wrote this before getting my last exam grade back. Whoops. On the bright side I get a chance to practice what I preach and have managed to leave plenty of room for improvement (lol).



A few other things I’m trying to work on are:
Not being late to everything, working out at least 3 times a week, getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night, not procrastinating, being more assertive, judging less, listening more, and doing much (much) less shopping.

And one last thing I want to improve on in 2019 is photography! Not sure if you can tell (hopefully you can?), but I recently upgraded from my dinky, super old point-and-shoot camera to a Canon Rebel T-6 DSLR. I can’t wait to start producing higher quality content and getting braver with venturing outside of automatic shooting mode. This will basically involve me learning the ropes and then teaching it to all the lovely friends and family in my life who let me use them as blog photographers.

I hope you’re all getting a running start on your 2019 resolutions! Outfit details are linked below. Thanks for spending a little time with me this week.

xoxo, Emm


Outfit details:

Lululemon All the Right Places leggings
Aritzia Subah T-shirt (Wilfred Free)
Topshop cropped shirt-jacket: similar, similar
Golden Goose Sneakers: purchase at Net-a-Porter
Canon EOS Rebel T-6 DSLR

Some of these websites work with Ebates to give you cash back! Use my link here.

*this post contains affiliate links

2 thoughts on “Discovering Detroit: Mirage by Doug Aitken

  1. Em,
    Always such a pleasure, a joy, and excitement to read your post. You share beautiful pictures, your passions, your presence, your life experiences and viewpoints. Thank you for your posts, always.
    You are working hard in MED school and adapting and learning and growing every single day. Your response to these life events related to your passion and education and life in general are so respectable and admirable.
    That’s so awesome and exciting that you have a new camera. I know you will enjoy exploring it and use it for your adventures.
    Best wishes for the new year. You go Em.
    Thank you for your lovely post.
    Love πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

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