Don’t Forget to Breathe
An installation by Doug Aitken

February 8 – 17, 2019

6775 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Hours: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Los Angeles is a perpetually changing landscape in a state of constant reinvention. Don’t Forget to Breathe, a new installation by Doug Aitken, meditates on the rapidly changing face of technology framed within a relic of our modern past. The atmosphere of the desolate storefront presents a possibility that a chapter of capitalism has completed its life cycle and we are entering the next era where the screen world mirrors the physical one. This new era is increasingly dematerialized, where human connection is evaporating and quickly being replaced by digital life.


The open architecture of this empty retail store surrounds the installation of three isolated figures. The absence of commercial logos, goods and consumers renders the store haunting and minimal, a memorial to time past. The building is transformed into an architectural purgatory in sharp contrast to a new era where communication moves at the speed of light and technology’s very presence is dematerialized.


Leaving the busy street and entering the store, the viewer approaches the glow of 3 Modern Figures (don’t forget to breathe). The three human figures rest on a raw wooden floor surrounded by the empty shell of a former store on Santa Monica Boulevard. The figures are seen rendered only in form, crystallized in translucent glass. These are not heroic figures, instead a candid snapshot of modern individuals frozen as if time had stopped. Light emanates and pulses in the empty core of the sculptures. They reach out to connect yet remain isolated as if freeze frames caught in the speed of change.


Light choreographs from person to person creating a rhythm that seems to both connect the figures and alienate each from the other. The figures are caught in the midst of making calls. Where a phone should be clutched in their hands there is instead a negative space. The patterns of light create a landscape of patterns and pulses of glowing colors.


The glow of the figures beckons the passerby to stop and pause at a familiar facade they have passed numerous times. Now an empty storefront, it echoes a familiar pattern that reflects a larger retail apocalypse in the US as retailers shutter brick and mortar locations across the country. These spaces wait for new tenants or are soon to be transformed into high-rises.


This artwork explores a landscape of transformation, the shift of the material to the immaterial. As light, color and abstract images synchronize through the bodies of the installation they create a continuously changing juxtaposition between isolation and absolute connectivity. Echoing through the space is an original audio composition of layered vocals that moves in sync with the light choreography. The soundscape for the artwork is constructed entirely of human voices. Single words or short sentences are repeated into abstractions, creating a soundscape that moves continuously without beginning or end.


Don’t Forget to Breathe is a new installation by Doug Aitken Workshop in collaboration with Regen Projects, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, and generously supported by RYOT. Additional thanks to 303 Gallery and Victoria Miro Gallery. It is located at 6775 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90038 and on view from February 8 – 17, 2019 and will be open daily 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm.


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