The kaleidoscopic film installation features 89-year-old Martin Cooper, who invented the mobile phone in 1973.
At the beginning of the artist Doug Aitken’s latest film, a grandfatherly figure quietly introduces himself as Martin Cooper, the inventor of the first cellular phone. From there, the viewer is catapulted into a hyperactive sequence of kaleidoscopic images, depicting everything from a monolithic brick phone to isolated deserts to remote satellite dishes. The film is projected onto a mirrored three-dimensional screen in Aitken’s immersive installation “New Era,” which will open at 303 Gallery in New York later this month, and subsequently at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich. In “New Era,” technology is a force of nature, an integral — and perhaps inescapable — part of the landscape that is both alarming and poignantly beautiful. Aitken was inspired by what he sees as a tectonic shift in our way of life. “We are no longer living in a long, continuous story,” he told T. “We are living a more fragmented way — images flash and text appears in short hot blasts. This is a new condition.” “New Era” condenses this experience — the fractured narratives and onslaught of imagery — into the gallery space, with awe-inspiring results. — JAMIE SIMS