Staff Pick

Staff Pick: Doug Aitken’s “Station to Station”


Rendering of Station to Station train by Doug Aitken. Work in progress. © 2013 Doug Aitken

Last we heard from Doug Aitken, he was blowing holes and dripping water into the floor of the former 303 Gallery space on West 21st Street, before finally blowing up the entire gallery (not literally) with a “time-based destruction installation performance,” a goodbye to the space. Spectacle? Perhaps. But that’s not what this post is about.

Come September 2013, the artist launches a new spectacle project that will travel the country by train, bringing a “series of cultural interventions and site-specific happenings” to ten different cities across the United States. The project, titled Station to Station, will involve artists from the worlds of art, music, food, literature, and film. To be honest, I don’t know much else about the project other than it being a train-slash-light-installation that brings art to towns via rail—all without leaving any of that Mumford and Sons aftertaste. (Make your own guesses about the project by watching a 1-minute teaser video.)

What I do know about Doug Aitken’s Station to Station is that the project’s Web presence is shaping up to be an important component to the overall project, providing visitors with the opportunity to peek inside the mind of the artist as he prepares to ride the rails in the fall. The Station to Station website plays almost like an open journal for Aitken—a blog in the truest sense. The range of posts includes quotes, photography, mini-essays, videos, interviews, and anything in between, all serving as touch points of sorts for what presumably inspired the artist to embark on the project—and what continues to influence the artist in preparation for the launch. Last week, visitors were treated to a short video featuring a conversation between Aitken and artist James Turrell.

The project is also accompanied by a fantastic social media presence across several platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Vimeo, and Pinterest. Posts on social media are an extension of the main website, continuing to serve as reference points to the artist’s influences. (It is also worth noting that artist Man Bartlett has been enlisted to take on the social media duties for the project, so expect posts to have that extra touch of care that goes along with anything that Man works on.)

Final recommendation: Crank up the volume on your speakers or headphones and play the following whilst you poke through the Station to Station website.

Jonathan Munar, Director of Digital Media and Strategy