Althea Thauberger (born 1970) is an artist who studied photography at the Concordia University, Montréal, and visual arts at the University of Victoria, Victoria. Thauberger’s photographs, films, videos, and performances invite reflection on self-definition, alienation, community, and coercion within “natural” worlds, and real or fictionalized social/political structures. Recent exhibitions include: Exponential Future, Belkin Gallery, UBC, Vancouver, 2008; John Connelly Presents, New York, 2007; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2006; Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, 2006; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, 2006; The Peninsula, Singapore History Museum, Singapore, 2006; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, 2005; and Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, 2005. Thauberger lives and works in Berlin and Vancouver.
Alone Again (In the Likeness of Life)
Althea Thauberger’s practice often involves an intensive collaborative working process with a specific local group or community—very often youth or adolescents—that usually results in a musical or choreographic performance and its video, photographic, and/or audio presentation. The outcomes can be seen as social and political allegories with an almost purist and vivid visuality that also provide a puzzling experience of two contradictory natures of human beings and their collective forms—their vulnerability as well as their potentials for self-empowerment.
In addition to realizing a survey-type solo exhibition of her previous works at BAK, Thauberger set out to explore the possibility of creating a new performative project on the meaning of “birth” and “entering into social structure.” Doing research on population growth and related statistical analysis (such as studies by ethnic group, and of the rise and decrease of newcomers) with the cooperation of the municipal birth registry of Utrecht, Thauberger conceived of a performance with a number of new mothers and their babies, who were all born on the same date. In the piece, the mothers sit in a circle, passing the babies from one mother to the next until her own baby eventually comes back to her. The actual performance evokes a sense of tension and insecurity between the participants, creating all kinds of unpredictable worries, and provoking concern in the minds of both participants and observers. The performance takes place in the beginning of 2008.