Ring Light Vanity Mirror

“Sold with a digital certificate of authentication from Tom Langevin, former director of Karl Springer, Ltd.” Lot 230: Karl Springer illuminated vanity mirror, c. 1970s, coll. Blackman Cruz via LA Modern

Ring lights are the cursed icon of our age. In the excavations in the future, ring lights on wispy black metal skeletal bases, flattened against a layer of disintegrated grey woodgrain laminate flooring, will be used to pinpoint this moment in history.

All the digital content they were used to create—that wasn’t already deleted from the servers when the monetization ran out—will have been wiped from the servers by EMPs, and archaeologists will hypothesize what they were for, and why every 21st century room had one. Was that just the shape of lamps at that point? The moon was popular, I guess? Were they altars to the Oprah goddess?

Then one day a dig in the Cahuenga Archipelago will turn up this, a ring light WITH A MIRROR IN THE CENTER, and yet it dates from generations earlier. And they’ll conclude that ringlights were once used for an ancient habit of staring at oneself. And at some point in the intervening 50 years, probably because they were processing the looming climate crisis, people became so unconcerned with how they looked that ring lights lost the mirror, but kept the shape, purely as an aesthetic. Maybe they even became symbols of a new humility, a communitarian absence of self-obsession. What an enlightened and advanced society the Ring Light Culture must have been. Why they died out was a mystery.

Beauty & Mischief: Selections from Blackman Cruz, 20 March 2024, Lot 230: Karl Springer Illuminated Vanity Mirror, c. 1970s, est. $1,000-1,500, sold for $1,764 [lamodern]