los-angeles

Diana Thater

Dorothy Goldeen Gallery

The title of Diana Thater’s latest video installation, Dogs and Other Philosophers, 1991, refers to Thomas Hardy’s meditation on “the untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise.” In Hardy’s novel, Far From the Madding Crowd, 1874, from which the phrase was lifted, logical conclusions are disclosed as tragically wrongheaded; in fact, the earnest young sheepdog pursues his flock so diligently that he ends up herding them over the edge of a cliff. Thater suggests that a more appropriate logic would be one based on contingency and indeterminacy, in which duration and perpetual change are acknowledged.

Thater’s theoretical mentor would appear to be Henri Bergson, who, in Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience, (Time

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