Spatial Presence & Virtuality
Doug Aitken "Migration"
Doug Aitken is an artist and Filmmaker whose work focus more on installation and interest in Architecture. His most recent work is being exhibited at 303 Gallery in New York. It is a exhibit that features his older and more memorable pieces. Before his eruption of film and installation work, he original worked as a magazine artists after attending the Art Center College of Design.
The pieces titled Migrations was super powerful despite it being the example of his work given. As most people, animals are interesting topic to focus on and there is a charm and gravitation we as humans have towards animals, yet Aitken's Migration almost questions that fascination. His film piece Migration, takes animals of exotic and various spectrum and confines them to a familiar environment of a hotel room. Their interaction within the space they are in really brings your attention to their existence and how they keep their identity regardless of their space. In clip excerpts I watched from Migration, the most powerful scene were the ones with the larger then life animals such as the panther and the bison. Animals of that size and power confined to a space often associated with comfort made me feel so small. Aitken's editing really highlighted their strength and exotic existence. I thoroughly anticipated some destruction within the hotel room and the video did not disappoint. Any confinement or misplacement of space for these animals facilitates their natural action to explore,scavenge, and ravage.
What also made me enjoy this exhibition was the choice of how to display this production. At least the video I watched, Migration was being shown on large screens on stands that resembled a billboard. I know it was intentional, and the power of the "billboard" is to draw attention on a grand scale. But Aitken pushed that attention to detail by having the film have a lot of lulls and slowdowns that captured moments of conflict and brilliance. These animals became performers without direction. The space they were in placed in challenged their livelihood, and like any animal, they too control. Whether it were physical actions, or demeanor (like the owl) these animals seemed to pull in their audience.