Since the ‘90s, Doug Aitken has created new and deeper levels of viewer involvement in narrative and the moving image. To immerse the viewer in images and sounds, Aitken projects his films across multiple screens in architectural environments. Conceptualized around the notion of the broken screen, Aitken’s films present nonlinear narratives built from fragmented and repetitive abstract images.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: MOCA Archive
“Electric Earth” is the first survey to comprehensively examine the full breadth of Doug Aitken’s work. The exhibition comprises 7 major, large-scale moving-image Installations, from his earliest multichannel video installation, “diamond sea” (1997), to more recent performance-based works such as “Black Mirror” (2011), in addition to the live sound installation “Sonic Fountain II” (2013-15), numerous sculptures, photographs, collages, a program of single-channel films, and documentation of site-specific architectural projects. It unfolds around the major moving-image installations that articulate the artist’s central thematic concerns: the end of linear time, environmental depredation, unprecedented technological mediation, self-contained and decentralized communication, and the incursion of commerce into our social relationships. For “Song 1” (2012-15), a video work that was projected onto the facade of the Hirshhorn in 2012, Aitken is building a 360-degree, double-sided screen that will appear to float in the center of the Geffen. Visitors can wander in, around and through the work. For “migration (empire)” (2008) a multichannel video depicting wild animals that Aitken let loose in roadside motel rooms, he built sculptural billboards that will be lined up. Images of the animals, a deer nudging the mini fridge, a buffalo charging the furniture, jump from billboard to billboard. MOCA does own, and has exhibited, Aitken’s video installation “Electric Earth” (1999) which earned him the International Prize that year at the Venice Biennale and which is also on view. The exhibition’s logic incorporates that of Aitken’s nomadic cultural incubator, cross-continental happening, and moving earthwork “Station to Station” (2013), which, like so many of Aitken’s works, embraced a collaborative spirit across disciplines and beyond walls to reimagine what a work of art can be and what an art experience can do. Similarly, a robust roster of accompanying public programs highlights how, over the course of his career, Aitken has been a creative conductor, bringing together musicians, performers, thinkers, other visual artists, and the public at large to experience collective cultural happenings.
Info: Organizers: Philippe Vergne &Wendy Stark, The Museum Of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA), Geffen Contemporary, 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Duration: 10/9/16-15/1/17, Days & Hours: Mon, Wed & Fri 11:00-18:00, Thu 11:00-20:00, Sat-Sun 11:00-17:00, www.moca.org