Close
Close

CONVERSATIONS

Viewer and Voyeur: Doug Aitken

 

Doug Aitken delivers us a presentation of The Garden: an installation that invites the viewer to be both spectator and actor, immersed in the center of the artwork. Inside a spacious, bulletproof chamber of glass, the viewer can destroy a minimalistic furniture environment.

 

In The Garden, I wanted the environment to be modern, minimalistic, sterile, and white. The furniture has been synthesized and designed in a way that distills it into representations devoid of any natural reference. There is something about the installation that alludes to film sets, the idea of walking into a built reality, a set that has been constructed. However, I also like the idea that, in entering this blank space, viewers are walking inside their own personal movie and can have their own private fiction. A viewer can enter and spend time inside the space, releasing energy in whatever way they wish. This room, based on an “anger room,” is a space where individuals are allowed to destroy everything around them—a space designed as an outlet for aggression and expression… a way for achieving release.

There is a tension between the natural and artificial worlds. One is confronted by a dense jungle, a living, breathing environment growing in the darkness of an industrial warehouse under artificial LED light that recedes to expose a minimalistic man-made stage. This is a living artwork, one that changes and transforms continuously with every viewer, each minute and each day. There’s a sense that we’re watching something that is forbidden, as both viewers and voyeurs. This is an encounter without authorship and there’s no starting point to this story. In this encounter, it’s the viewer who is empowered as both witness and author, asked to both react and act, given the opportunity to push their expression to an extreme.

I’m interested in breaking the barrier between the viewer and the content of the artwork. Trying to find ways to create less of a separation. I want viewers to own the experience of artwork, to consume it and to make it become part of themselves. I’m not interested in fixed meanings but instead the questions that are raised by the experiences. The viewers are both inside and outside the looking glass—in this case, the vitrine—and they are contained like a specimen that is being watched while acting out their desires in an absolutely uninhibited way. Some of the reactions of viewers have been very powerful and provocative. The viewer inside the installation is under the eye of the viewer outside of the artwork. Everything here is transparent. This is also a living artwork, one that changes continuously with every viewer; it will transform, and the cameras that host the live stream is one way to be able to watch this transformation.

Ultimately, the live online streaming of the work is a way of breaking away from the idea of a site-specific location. I like that through the streaming, the work lives in electricity everywhere and anywhere. However, I’m most interested in the personal experience the viewers have for themselves, being able to perform and release. To live for a moment of time completely uninhibited!

.

at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus
until 30 July 2017

Related Articles
CONVERSATIONS
Calla Henkel & Max Pitegoff at Cabinet, London
(Read more)
CONVERSATIONS
In the Belly of the Beast: Tori Wrånes
(Read more)
CONVERSATIONS
Paths to a Certain Place: Laura Lima
(Read more)
CONVERSATIONS
Architectural Psychoscapes: Francois Roche
(Read more)
CONVERSATIONS
“La Terra Inquieta” at La Triennale di Milano, Milan
(Read more)
CONVERSATIONS
Madness with a Straight Face: John Miller
(Read more)