On Friday night, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Doug Aitken‘s (previously here) latest project Station to Station, I went to the first stop and kick-off of this unique multi-city art and music ”nomadic happening“. The pre-event coverage was rather vague, so I was trying to wrap my head around how a train was going to make its way over to the Williamsburg waterfront and, well, the answer is, it didn’t. In fact, the beautiful glowing train exists, but—at least at the New York stop—it wasn’t included in the actual event, but rather, as the means, cool as it may be, of transportation for the artists, musicians, chefs and other participants.
However, despite the lack of train viewing, art and music were definitely supplied in abundance within a festive atmosphere on the most perfect of fall-like nights. Five nomadic sculptures/yurts were set up outside, each designed by a different artist and open for shoeless entry by guests. These installations included an orange-y glowing one by Ernesto Neto; a white, smokey one, with a disco ball by Urs Fischer; Kenneth Anger’s bright red yurt with two video panels screening “Lucifer Rising”; a yellow tensile structure by Carsten Höller; and a completely dark yurt that I was not able to experience properly and not sure of the artist either, sorry. Inside the large Riverfront Studios stood a wooden yurt containing a gift shop. Also inside, is where the music was performed (bands included No-Age, Suicide, Yoshimio, and Ariel Pink.) But, possibly, what I enjoyed most about the whole event were the films screened behind the musicians and between sets. These ranged from Doug Aitken’s own films to Francis Alys, Kate Casanova, Nam June Paik, and Allora & Calzadilla just to name a few. Most of the ones that I saw were truly captivating, and in the most surprising of ways. For example, Kate Casonova’s ”Ornament”, a film showing the back of the artist’s braided head with large hermit crabs crawling on it, was oddly mesmerizing. One of my favorites, however, was a series of kisses from old Hollywood films spliced together as one film, though I wasn’t able to find the name or filmmaker. It was reminiscent of that wonderfully moving scene at the end of Cinema Paradiso (a movie totally worth watching, but if you haven’t yet, then you may want to skip the spoiler-ish link above.)
Back to Station to Station. The event will be traveling all the way to San Francisco within the next three weeks making stops in nine cities and including different artists and performers in each location. If you can’t catch it live, the site is designed in such a way to be able to experience the events virtually. Definitely a great concept filled with great talent with proceeds going to support non-traditional programming at nine partner museums around the country.