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Doug Aitken | Underwater Pavilions

Underwater Pavilions consist of three temporary sculptures that are moored to the ocean floor. Geometric in design, the sculptures create environments that reflect and refract light, opening a portal that physically connects a viewer to the expanse of the ocean while simultaneously disrupting preconceived visual ideas of the aquatic world. By merging the language of contemporary architecture, land art, and ocean research, the Underwater Pavilions are a living artwork within a vibrant ecosystem. In contrast to areas of the sculpture that have a rough and rock-like surface, mirrored sections reflect the seascape and, when approached, activate to become a kaleidoscopic observatory. The environments created by the sculptures change and adjust with the currents and time of day, focusing the attention of the viewer on the rhythm of the ocean and its life cycles. The artwork creates a variety of converging perceptual encounters that play with the fluidity of time and space, resulting in a heightened awareness of the physical world.


Produced by Parley for the Oceans and Doug Aitken Workshop, and presented in partnership with MOCA Los Angeles, the Underwater Pavilions will be on view starting December 4, 2016 at Casino Point Dive Park in the City of Avalon, Catalina, California.


Catalina Island is a one-hour ferry ride from several major ports and it was selected as the location for this earthwork in light of its historical and ecological importance, the beauty of its landscape, and its close proximity to Los Angeles. With its clear waters teeming with flying fish and bright orange Garibaldi, alongside nearby shipwrecks, the location makes for spectacular diving and snorkeling.


St. Catherine Way

Avalon, California 90704




Doug Aitken (b. 1968) is an American artist and filmmaker whose work explores every medium, from sculpture, film, and installation to architectural intervention. His work has been featured in exhibitions around the world at institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Aitken earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999 for the installation electric earth. He also received the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize and the 2013 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.



Parley for the Oceans is the New York-based organization and global network where creators, thinkers, and leaders raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate to end their destruction. Founded in 2012 by Cyrill Gutsch, Parley believes the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer, and the duty to empower them lies in the hands of the creative industries. Artists, musicians, actors, filmmakers, designers, journalists, architects, inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold reality and reshape our future on this planet. To succeed, we must synchronize the economic system of humankind with the ecosystem of nature. With a focus on ocean plastic pollution, overfishing and climate change, and deep sea exploration, Parley implements comprehensive strategies to ensure we are fast enough to meet the ultimate deadline, before we lose a treasure we have only just started to explore and still don't fully understand: the fantastic blue universe beneath us - the oceans.



Founded in 1979, MOCA's vision is to be the defining museum of contemporary art. In a relatively short period of time, MOCA has achieved astonishing growth with three Los Angeles locations of architectural renown; a world-class permanent collection of more than 6,800 objects, international in scope and among the finest in the world; hallmark education programs that are widely emulated; award-winning publications that present original scholarship; groundbreaking monographic, touring, and thematic exhibitions of international repute that survey the art of our time; and cutting-edge engagement with modes of new media production. MOCA is a not-for-profit institution that relies on a variety of funding sources for its activities.