Mirage is a site-specific installation created by Doug Aitken. The artwork presents a continually changing encounter in which subject and object, inside and outside are in constant flux. The sculpture moves in an autonomous way, absorbing and reflecting the landscape in ways where the installation will seemingly disappear. The viewer navigates their own experience, as they move through the interior of the sculpture and find a never-ending kaleidoscope of light and reflection.
Mirage has traveled from the Mojave desert in California, to inside an abandoned bank building in Detroit and now resides in the Swiss Alps. In this large-scale work, Aitken has searched for a way to bring the viewer into an artwork and into a deep space, an act of compression-contraction.
In Mirage, Aitken uses the seemingly generic construct of a home but now devoid of a narrative, its inhabitants, their possessions. This minimal structure now functions entirely in response to the landscape around it. The doors, windows, and openings have been eliminated and reduced to an idea, creating a fluid relationship with the surrounding environment. This site-specific artwork becomes a system that's outside, in the wild, so to speak. In removing the confines of a gallery or museum the artwork acts differently, no longer purely about the viewer backed by a white wall of the museum, or a closed environment. Instead the viewer authors their own experience within the landscape and writes their own narrative. The viewer interacts directly with the artwork, taking away an experience, an encounter, a moment in time that is ephemeral.
Doug Aitken Workshop would like to thank Desert X, Elevation1049, Luma Foundation and Library Street Collective for their support for Mirage.
Sonic Mountain (Sonoma)
Sonic Mountain (Sonoma) is situated within Donum’s lush eucalyptus grove. Mimicking a wind chime, the installation responds to changes in the surrounding environment and creates patterns of sound as wind moves through it. As a living and interactive artwork, Sonic Mountain (Sonoma) explores the fluidity of time by creating a continuously evolving experience that is activated by the surrounding landscape
Green Lens is a living art installation and cultural stage. It is set in Venice, Italy, a sinking city strongly impacted by the rise of the oceans. The surrounding city creates a strong ecological narrative within the artwork that speaks to the idea of the future in the post-covid world. Located on the island of Isola Della Certosa in Venice, Italy, Green Lens is a living experiential artwork and destination.
Green Lens evokes the future through its crystalline reflective surfaces and reveals a kaleidoscopic view through its dense botanic environment. It is a freestanding artwork. From the exterior it creates a choreography of changing reflections of clouds, mist and wild green vegetation. The reflective sculpture transforms the landscape which was once a military munition factory and from 1960 onward was neglected and abandoned. The installation becomes a living abstraction with the viewer at the center of the narrative. As day turns to night Green Lens glows and becomes a kinetic light sculpture and sound composition.
Green Lens sparks a dialogue linking the natural landscape with our future. In the 21st century, we explore the complexities of how to create a balance and harmony with the natural environment. An environment where nature is empowered again and the weight of the past lifts to become fluid and inspiring.
The artwork will create a starting point of reforesting the island. Trees, plants living in Green Lens will be donated to Isola della Certosa as part of the reforestation program and the restructuring project to make the cloister ruins accessible again to Venezia citizens and its international public.
Green Lens rests on this small island, like liquid architecture, it creates an immersive environment where the natural landscape and human history and innovation merge. The installation evokes a mysterious planet, a New World, one that feels as if it has just been discovered.
The installation creates a contemporary lens allowing us to reflect the living world around us in a unique and powerful way. It is both a celebration and conversation of the future.
Green Lens will be activated with a sequence of performances and conversations that are thought-provoking and provocative, focusing on the future as interpreted by musicians, speakers and dancers. “What is the Future?” is the narrative threaded throughout the project. These activations will be filmed by Aitken and released for the public to have access to this living artwork and stage for voices and culture.
All Greenhouse Gases (GhGs) emissions related to the event are offset through reforestation programs particularly dedicated to Isola della Certosa garden, respecting its natural and original ecosystem through a consulting local environmental specialist.
To Be Titled (Rotating Mirror Sculpture)
A kinetic assemblage of mirror discs reflecting and refracting the changing skyscape spins slowly on its axis in To Be Titled (Rotating Mirror Sculpture). The central sculpture, placed amidst a stone pavilion blocking the indecipherable landscape, traces the passage of time via the setting sun.
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 at Casino Point Dive Park in the City of Avalon, Catalina, California.
The pavilion is located in the forested hills of Brazil, at Inhotim Institute, a new cultural foundation. The Sonic Pavilion provides a communal space to listen to the sounds of the earth as they are recorded through highly sensitive microphones buried close to a mile deep into the ground and carried back into the pavilion through a number of speakers. The sound heard inside the pavilion is the amplified sound of the moving interior of the earth.
Imagine an artwork that seamlessly merges the viewer with the landscape. The artwork is a pavilion entirely reflective on the inside, a lens consisting of angles and facets. It focuses on the sky and the surrounding landscape, its exterior physicality falling away once entered, dissolving into a new way of seeing the surrounding environment. TRANSFORMER appears to be continuously changing from day to night and through the seasons. It is a beacon that draws visitors to the Huon Valley.
The pavilion reflects the landscape, capturing the constant change as nature rebuilds and restores the previously burnt earth with new vegetation. The viewer can visit repeatedly,watching the landscape evolve, each experience to this kaleidoscopic installation different and new.
This site-specific artwork, TRANSFORMER will be innovative and allow for a crossover of contemporary art, architecture and ecology. The pavilion acts as a catalyst that pushes the viewer to explore the lush landscape and creates a starting point for exploring the end of the road and the nature that lies beyond.
The sculpture would be sited at the end of the road in the Huon Valley and function both as a spectacular destination and a starting point for the visitor to discover the natural landscape of the region. The visitors make a journey to the valley to see the artwork and then are inspired to further their own experience as they experience the natural beauty that surrounds the artwork.
Over seventeen days in July, a hot air balloon designed as a reflective and kinetic light sculpture traveled from iconic Trustees land conservation sites in Martha’s Vineyard, greater Boston, to the Berkshires, making seven stops along the way for a series of site-specific happenings and conversations regarding the future of our culture
Doug Aitken’s MIRRORS contrasts geometric mirrored forms and portals against a void space. Shapeshifting surfaces reflect a daylit forest at first, and transition to sunset as the projected view moves skywards, further distorting the evolution of light and color.
Doug Aitken is an artist who defies definitions of genre. He explores every medium, from film and installations to architectural interventions. His artwork has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, in such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vienna Secession, the Serpentine Gallery, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. He earned the International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999 for the installation electric earth. Aitken's awards include the 2012 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, the 2013 Smithsonian Magazine American Ingenuity Award: Visual Arts, the 2017 inaugural Frontier Art Prize and the 2019 ArtCenter College of Design Lifetime Achievement Award.