Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Doug Aitken (American, b. 1968)

Diamond Sea, 1997

Duratrans and color video projection
Dimensions variable
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Gift of Lannan Foundation.
Doug Aitken's film, Diamond Sea is a cinematic panorama of the Namib Desert in Southwestern Africa. Aitken surveyed the riches of the region's diamond mines, which occupy 75,000 square kilometers of restricted access land named Diamond Areas 1 and 2. From air and land, he captures images of dilapidated buildings, rusting machinery, and empty interiors of the computer-automated complex, juxtaposing them with scenes of the desert and ocean.

Aitken spent a month exploring this remote location, which had been closed off to the outside world since 1908. The result is a portrait of a landscape, to which Aitken added a contrasting soundtrack of ambient techno music, superimposing popular culture on images of a place that for so long existed without it.