Review: The Infinity Mirror – The Flying Nun by Brand X (NSW)

Created, Written, and Performed by Lily Hayman, Created, Designed and Operated by Thomas Doyle, supported by SHOPFRONT

Review by Charlotte Smee

Do you know what a deep fake is? In The Infinity Mirror, a Black Mirror-esque performance piece, Lily Hayman and Lily Hayman (AI) show you exactly what it is, and in real time we find out just how easy it is to make one.

For those of us who don’t know, deep fakes are a kind of “synthetic media”: videos, sounds, and pictures that have been manipulated to make something look like something else. In the tamer examples, someone might make Amy Adams have Nicolas Cage’s face. In the story that Lily Hayman shows us in The Infinity Mirror, half true and half not, someone takes her face and uses it to make pornographic videos that become the top search hits when she Googles her name. What follows is an exploration of who is the real Lily Hayman, and who isn’t.

Designed by Thomas Doyle, the stage is lined by bright white LED strips, with a camera on one end and a large screen on the other. In certain moments, the camera moves to make different images of Lily, including a recreation of what a deep fake porn video might look like and reflections of Lily’s face and legs into infinity. We were seated on either side of the LED strips, able to watch live Lily, AI Lily, or her recreations as we chose.

The show begins with Lily addressing the audience directly – she’s not acting yet – and setting us up for a conversation of our online selves. We then move into a story of acting Lily who finds out her face is all over Redtube and various sites, when she’d never filmed a minute of pornographic content in her life. It even included her voice! At various points, her friends try to call her out of her shame-induced isolation, but she remains stuck in her room. Flowing like a conversation, with Lily addressing us at certain points to remind us that these stories really happen to people, and there is no clean ending. At times, the writing felt a little didactic and could be somewhat sparse, but Lily’s charisma and warmth helped push it along.

Right at the end, Lily and Thomas showed us how easy it is to make a deep fake using apps you can get for free. Using the screen behind Lily and her face as she spoke, it became a video on someone else’s body. An intriguing concept, and a frightening one in the context of living our lives entirely online.

The Infinity Mirror is a story of what could very easily happen to any of us with any pictures anywhere on the Internet. With intriguing and intimate design, this is a small glimpse of the consequences of never reading the terms and conditions. Who is the real you? What makes them real? Would you make an AI of yourself? See this show, Google yourself and find out.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Infinity Mirror plays at the Flying Nun by Brand X until 21 May. Find tickets here.

See the rest of our May cheap thrills here.


Created, Written and Performed by Lily Hayman

Created, Designed and Operated by Thomas Doyle

Outside Eye Kate Gaul and Natalie Rose.

Supported by SHOPFRONT.

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