Artist Diana Thater Is Determined to Reveal a World Worth Saving
From the ArtCenter College of Design’s Bi-Weekly Podcast
ArtCenter College of Design’s bi-weekly podcast features intimate interviews with leading artists examining the ideas fueling their work and how the creative process can be a catalyst for change—personally, professionally and globally. Hosted by ArtCenter President Lorne M. Buchman, these conversations examine the many ways in which artists and designers are enriching our lives. ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education; and our mission statement—Learn to create. Influence change—lies at the center of all we do.
For Diana Thater making art is like oxygen. It sustains and nourishes her. And when her access to it is suddenly limited—as it was in the spring of 2020—she figures out a way to create her art. By any means necessary.
Her latest exhibition, Yes, There Will Be Singing, is the captivating result of one such extraordinary pandemic pivot. She conceived the idea for the sound-based installation when her in-person show was cancelled. But what’s most ingenious about this immersive work is not its format but rather its remarkable subject—Whale 52, who is deaf and yet sings into a world of complete darkness and silence.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect metaphor for resilience in the face of the isolation we’ve all just experienced than Whale 52 and, more specifically, the sensitivity with which Thater represents his plight in her work.
That kind of empathy is the lifeblood running through everything Thater creates. Best known for creating large-scale installation art exploring the tensions between the animal kingdom and mankind, Thater’s studio practice has sent her around the globe to film species in peril in their natural habitats. Her work has been widely exhibited at major institutions worldwide, including MOMA, LACMA and the Guggenheim Bilbao.
In this lively and fathoms-deep Change Lab episode, Thater explores the forces animating her creative practice, the role of improvisation in her filming process and her enduring commitment to risking life and limb to transport us there alongside her.