Diana Thater

2005
101

In Perpetual Motion (2005), the seemingly erratic flight of the bright orange Monarch butterfly—filmed in its winter habitat of Michoacán, Mexico—is intensified by the artist’s editing in which frames are randomly dropped and the film is sped up. As a result, the butterflies become hyper-real and animated in appearance. The manipulated footage is presented in a video wall of nine monitors, where the butterflies flit from screen to screen, in a room bathed in vivid orange light.

A pioneer of video and film installations for over a decade, Diana Thater’s works explore the nature and possibilities of moving-image media. Thater describes her work as “Neo-Structualist Installations” that aim to make viewers look anew at architectural environments and the way they perceive video and film. The natural world has been a recurring motif in Thater’s work since the early 1990s, and she brings the outdoors into the gallery to address the relationship between modern technology and notions of beauty and the sublime. Thater inverts the idea of the technological sublime, insisting that the presence of technology makes the natural sublime stand out more starkly.