The Creators Project: Visiting the Underwater Pavilions wasn’t a passive experience; you have to be actively involved in every moment, because there could be trouble if you aren’t. How did you view engagement when it came to the Pavilions?
Doug Aitken: When I was working on the Pavilions, I increasingly thought about how artwork can be living and how it could be authored by the viewer. It goes back, philosophically, to the idea of saying, “If we’re living and continue to live and change, then why is it that we see an artwork and the artwork is frozen and fixed?” You wonder if the artwork should be in dialogue with us, and even if we’re not there, the artwork could continue to change. In some ways, the Sonic Pavilion in Brazil was the starting point for thinking about those ideas. Ten or so years later, it’s still there in the rainforest, emitting audio from the earth’s movement and rotation. I can step away from that artwork and it doesn’t need me at all. I love that idea. It can start being completely autonomous and live its own life and have its dialogue with anyone.
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