Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination in Photos


The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) presents a new exhibition of work by Los-Angeles based artist Diana Thater. The Sympathetic Imagination utilizes LED lights and projectors to display large-scale film and video installations. Thater explores ideas related to shared public spaces and critiques the human tendency to misuse them.

Incorporating visuals from “a range of natural phenomena-such as the weightless, seamless, underwater world of dolphins; honeybees who communicate through dancing; and the surprising fortitude of animals in Chernobyl in the aftermath of the worst nuclear meltdown ever- her works explore the subjectivity of animals and the complex relationships humans have constructed with nature.”[1] In doing so, Thater brings to the forefront of her viewers minds the reality of the harm humans are causing to the natural world. She exposes what has previously been overlooked in our day-to-day lives and forces the public to investigate further their impact on the planet.

Thater’s installation at the MCA allows visitors to experience the subject matter in an enveloped hyper reality, existing within the work itself. “Thater’s dynamic, immersive installations challenge and invert accepted positions and realities through the deployment of color, movement, scale, and architecture.”[2] The extensive imagery subtly alters physical, emotional, optical, and investigative senses.

Photographs below taken by Shelby Beasley. All are installation views of Diana Thater's The Sympathetic Imagination at the MCA Chicago. Exhibition on display October 29, 2016-January 8, 2017.









[1] http://www.lacma.org/diana-thater#about-the-exhibition

Top image: Diana Thater, Life is a Time-Based Medium, 2015. Photo: Shelby Beasley