November 30, 2008

Trapped in the Urban Jungle

Doug Aitken had a recent exhibition in 2 distinct gallery spaces by 303 in Chelsea. The common theme of the show was the space, or habitat, we live in and our interaction with it.

The first piece was a video installation, called Migration, projected on three billboard size screens that showed wild animals outside of their natural habitat, filmed in roadside motel rooms. The video below is an excerpt from this installation that shows a fox entering a motel room and interacting with the space. Other segments (not shown) were filmed with a buffalo, a tiger, an eagle, a sable (in the bathtub), among others.

It is interesting to watch the animals try to adapt to their surroundings. You feel their frustration and helplessness having been taken out of their natural habitat and being trapped in small quarters. The spare, non-descript furnishings add to the feeling of desolation of the animals that are used to roam the wilderness.

The gallery's other exhibit space nearby had a white circular room with Aitken's futuristic watercolor paintings. The abstract depictions of streetscapes contrasted with the minimal room for an interesting sensory effect.

In the back of the exhibit space there was an illuminated photograph of an urban landscape (LA?) that made up the word "Star". The night time city scape could also be taken for space with distant stars and planets.

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