SANTA FE, N.M. — A beaver swimming in a bathtub, a cougar clawing at pillows on a motel bed and a deer rifling through a mini-fridge. In Doug Aitken’s short film “Migration,” animals are left to their own devices in areas humans have made around them.
“A lot of what we’ve created is repetitious,” said Aitken.”It’s almost like we have a conscious desire for repetition: go to a hotel, wake up in the same room … . You wake up and have no idea where you are because it’s all the same place.” He spent a month traveling to motels across the country and put animals in spaces like rooms, bathrooms and pools to capture their reaction and exploration of the human-made landscape, without people around, which in a way also gives viewers a chance to re-see these structures through the creatures’ eyes.
Aitken said he wanted to show “juxtaposition” between the pre-industrial, natural world and structures man has now created. He displays the film on billboards, which he called an “aggressive” element of our created landscape.