Three Ways of Seeing: Art and Architecture
Doug Aitken at the seattle art museum
Doug Aitken’s most recent work is called Mirror, but it is equally a sort of living kaleidoscope—its ever-changing motifs and patterns reflecting the energy and movement of downtown Seattle. A video and light installation that wraps around the northwest corner of the Seattle Art Museum, Mirror consists of a seventy-foot-long, fourteen-foot-tall, glass-covered horizontal band of images that expand and collapse and dissolve into narrow columns of light that run up and down the facade. The images themselves are from hundreds of hours of footage Aitken filmed throughout the city and elsewhere in the state—landscapes, forests, the sea, people, the Boeing factory— reduced to their essence. A constant feed conveys real-time elements around the museum, such as weather information, pedestrian traffic, atmospheric conditions, and traffic density, which constantly reshapes the animation of the display. “With Mirror I was interested in the idea of creating a living museum, a downtown building that could change in real time in relation to the environment around it,” said Aitken. “The building can speed up or slow down, it can change chroma with the temperature, or the speed of the wind might edit a live sequence of images a certain way. Mirror will never repeat itself; it will simply change continuously in the present moment.” Go see it if you can, or catch the video at mirrorseattle.org for a look at the opening ceremony.