Life is a Time-Based Medium
Life Is a Time-Based Medium (2015)—the most recent work included in the exhibition, Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination—was filmed at the Galtaji Temple (a Hindu pilgrimage site) in Jaipur, India. A monumental installation, it conflates the projected architecture of the temple with that of the gallery in which it is shown. Focusing on the behavior of the resident monkeys, Thater’s work questions distinctions between the tame and wild by reference to the divine status of the animals in Hinduism.
When asked about this particular work Diana responded, "I’m very interested in the scale, intricacies, and simplicities of architecture. I’ve worked with very complex and very simple architectural spaces. For Life is a Time-Based Medium, I filmed a Hindu temple, which was idiosyncratic, asymmetrical, and interesting for any number of reasons. The most interesting thing was that it was just a façade built on a cliff. There is no inside. The temple actually has a door that doesn’t go anywhere. So I brought it into the installation—I cut out this beautiful scalloped doorway and gave the temple its own interior, a projection of a little tiny movie theater, with a screen. On the screen is a video of monkeys. The temple is a temple to Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, and it just happens to be inhabited by wild monkeys. A friend of mine went on vacation to India and showed me a photo of it on his iPhone and I thought, I want to go there. Because a temple to a monkey god inhabited by monkeys—who made this for me? Rhesus monkeys, known in the West as the subjects of torturous scientific experiments, are sacred in Hindu culture and allowed to run wild in the temple. I examine the spaces inhabited by animals and those inhabited by humans, as well as how these intersect. The space within the image, the space of the temple, and the space of the museum itself merge.”
FREE Lecture— Roy Scranton Responds to Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination
On February 16, Professor Roy Scranton, alongside artist Diana Thater, will discuss specific works in relation to rhizomatic identity, geology, and the complex relationships that Thater creates in seeing animals as reflections of ourselves. Details: http://bit.ly/23V9SvN
This series examines highlights from Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination, on view at LACMA through February 20, 2016. Follow #DianaThater on Tumblr for upcoming posts, or check out an overview of the exhibition on Unframed.