Doug Aitken
I am in you



18 February – 8 April 01



An exhibition by Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in cooperation with KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Doug Aitken assembles in his installations a variety of film, video, photography, architecture and sound. His video installation Electric Earth, which brought him the international prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999, as well made him known to a larger public in Europe. Aitken´s video installations and films are obsessed with the idea of the present; he himself describes them as pure communication.

The techniques and styles used for production, those that are in a position to allow this communication to arise in the first place, refer to the movie made according to the pattern and myth of Hollywood. In his works, however, the mechanisms of accelerated media are examined in a sensory, empirical and conceptual way. Doug Aitken uses the cinematic vocabulary of Hollywood, inserts its stereotypes into his visual language, implements its dramaturgical arguments and thematic motifs. Thus, he secures himself the recognition factor while luring the viewer into a visual world that is an established authority of our image inventory, nearly co-existing as reality exposing it to criticism at its most vulnerable point. The contents and arguments of these mainstream narratives are examined according to the impression they make on the viewer. They don´t expose themselves to any other discourse (foreign to the genre).

The subtext of these works is negative space; the protagonist can be present at rest or in action, in the microcosm or the macrocosm. The contrast between the landscape shots, the images of a tech- nologically equipped society, demonstrates that, with Aitken, the refusal of and the simultaneous fascination for the media is what produces the tension between the images in the first place.

In the work I am in you (2000) shown at KW, Doug Aitken goes a step further: the room-sized video sculpture, which is placed in room at Kunst-Werke as a kind of film set, doesn´t only involve itself with the relation of film time and real time, with the impossibility of untroubled perception and with the cinematic construction of identity. Here, the viewer is veritably drawn into the story and the emotions; he seems to have been robbed of the possibility of a distanced observation. This subversive concept allows the space to arise through the content of the film itself, allowing the viewer only to withdraw if they leave the room.