Chernobyl (2011) is a multi-projection work that surrounds the viewer. Thater traveled to the site of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown and filmed the horses, swans, and other wildlife that had begun to return after the devastation. She then projected the footage onto the walls of a crumbling movie theater nearby, and in turn filmed that projection. What we see are images of nature filtered through the scrim of human-made destruction. Thater confuses our comfortable position as spectator by placing us both in nature and inside the theater simultaneously.
One of the exhibition’s highlights is China (1995), another room-filling projection work. To make it, Thater set up six cameras in a circle pointing inwards at a pair of wolves being trained to stand still on a dusty California hillside. In the museum, she flips this arrangement, projecting the six images onto the four walls, placing the viewer at the center and the wolves on the periphery. The pair has become a pack of 12. The six images are split into primary and secondary colors—red, blue, green, cyan, magenta, and yellow—providing a brilliant kaleidoscopic landscape. Our typically stable viewing position is disrupted as we are thrust into the center of the action, surrounded by wolves and partially blinded by light.