A Runaway World at Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul (September 16, 2017–February 18, 2018) presented five video installations by Diana Thater, three of which were recent commissions. The works As Radical as Reality and A Runaway World (both 2017) traveled to Istanbul from The Mistake Room in Los Angeles, where they were first shown in 2017 (April 1–June 3).
The primary emphasis of Thater's work is the tension between the natural environment and mediated reality, and by extension, between tamed and wild, and science and magic. Filmed in Kenya and presented on intersecting screens designed by the artist, As Radical as Reality and A Runaway World explore the lives and habitats of two species that are close to extinction—rhinos and elephants—and the illicit economies that threaten their survival. As Radical as Reality follows Sudan, the world's last living male northern white rhino, and the guards who protect him from poachers in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. A Runaway World portrays a herd of bull elephants and their habitat in Kenya's Chyulu Hills.
Thater's critically acclaimed retrospective The Sympathetic Imagination was presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2015. The exhibition traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2016.