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Creator: John Divola

United States, born 1949

Title: Dogs Chasing Car
Date: 2009
Medium: Ultrachrome pigment on ultrasmooth fine art paper
Credit Line: Gift of Amir Zaki
Accession Number: 2011.21.01
Label Text:While John Divola was working on another body of photographs of isolated houses in the desert at the East end of the Morongo Valley in Southern California, there were many times when a stray dog would chase his car. Entering into an unusual long-term, six-year "relationship" with these desert gods, he began to bring along a 35mm camera equipped with a motor drive and loaded with a fast and grainy black-and-white film. The process was simple. When he saw a dog coming toward the car he would pre-focus the camera and set the exposure. With one hand on the steering wheel, he would hold the camera out the window and expose anywhere from a few frames to a complete roll of film. Contemplating a dog chasing a car invites any number of metaphors about culture and nature, or the domestic and the wild. Divola has also written that the process "could be viewed as a visceral and kinetic dance. Here we have two vectors and velocities, that of a dog and that of a car and, seeing that a camera will never capture reality and that a dog will never catch a car, evidence of devotion to a hopeless enterprise."

This work was featured in Intelligent Design: Interspecies Art at Sweeney Art Gallery, which was on view from September 5, 2009 to February 6, 2010. It was a group exhibition of twenty international artists exploring human interaction with animals through a collection of provocative video installations, photographs, paintings, and sculptures. John Divola is a Professor in the Art Department at University of California, Riverside, and is based in Riverside, California.