Chicago

Diana Thater

The Renaissance Society

In two recent video works entitled China (all works 1995) and A Confusion of Prints (work for two video monitors), Diana Thater examined the opposition between the wild and the domestic, the natural and the man-made. Using unedited footage of two wolves during training sessions (the animals were bred in L.A. and have appeared in the films Cry Wilderness, White Fang, Quest for Fire, and two Playboy videos), Thater at once evokes and demystifies the conventions of the documentary by emphasizing the process of filming itself. In China, the videotapes, recorded by six cameras that had been placed in a circle, were projected from six projectors, echoing and inverting the process of filming. This reversal also placed the viewer in the wolf’s position: at the center of a circle. Present in almost every frame, the trainer attempted to teach the wolf (China) how to stand still, holding its attention

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