Through the looking glass
Doug Aitken reveals plans to bring video and performance piece to Greek island of Hydra
By Helen Stoilas. Web only
Published online: 21 April 2011
HYDRA, GREECE. Doug Aitken will be taking over the Deste Foundation’s Project Space in an old slaughterhouse on the island of Hydra this June with a new kaleidoscopic, multi-channel video and performance installation featuring actress Chloë Sevigny. Black Mirror, as the project is titled, is “beyond an exhibition…it's a piece that is not defined by medium. For me it was more about starting with a concept and making a more diverse body of work,” Aitken told The Art Newspaper.
The project examines the fragmentation of communication in today’s world, where most conversations are spoken through truncated text messages and online postings and “language is being reduced to single words and fragments, pieces of information, nothing really complete,” said Aitken. The artist and his crew have just returned from several weeks of filming in locations including Greece, Mexico and Arizona, focusing on the interstitial places that are passed through when travelling: airport terminals, hotel rooms, car parks and late-night shops. “I’m not interested in the exotic or cultural tourism,” Aitken explained.
Aitken is launching the project in Greece with two evenings of hour-long live performances in the port of Piraeus in Athens on 16-17 June. A specially constructed barge will serve as a floating theatre where guests will watch Sevigny and other performers acting out the narrative of the video piece, which will be projected on three sides of the platform. The barge will then be moored outside of the Hydra project space for two more performances on 19-20 June. Meanwhile the slaughterhouse gallery will become “a black mirrored kaleidoscope” Aitken said, with five channels of film projected and infinitely reflected on a series of screens. “It is this humble, concrete, remote space that you could walk by and not notice, but you walk in and it contains this vortex.” Aitken added that he hopes the theatre piece will travel to another location after the exhibition in Greece.
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