Doug Aitken

migration (empire) –
linear Version, 2008

In Doug Aitkens’ (b. 1968) film migration (empire), various wild animals roam around deserted North American motels. A mustang, a buffalo, a puma, a raccoon, an eagle and an owl enter human terrain in front of an almost surreal set on the edge of large oilfields. These are motels with an uncanny feel to them, orchestrated in a manner strongly reminiscent of David Lynch’s film Lost Highway. However, there is no clash between the brutishly animal and the civilized human, but a cautious rapprochement. The animals’ movements through the empty, carefully prepared bedrooms are sometimes hesitant and sometimes curious. Although there are no people to be seen the latter do seem present in some mysterious way. Switched-on TVs, coffee machines, lights and running taps reveal that people have been present, at least temporarily, in these rooms. Accordingly, alongside the picture presented it is primarily the sound of rushing or dripping water that is to be heard repeatedly and that provides an acoustic backdrop to migration (empire). Aitken presents these wild animals as sublime creatures in a diffusely bright light in the sterility of the hotel rooms.

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Doug Aitken
migration (empire) – linear Version, 2008
1-Kanal-Videoinstallation (Farbe, Stereoton), 24‘24‘‘
Courtesy Sammlung Goetz, Medienkunst, München