Doug Aitken has always had big ideas, but none have been bigger than his current undertaking: a mobile art and culture showcase that will journey from America's east to west coasts. Named 'Station to Station', the mobile art experiment takes the shape of a train that will serve as an incubator for artists, musicians and cultural icons to create new, site-specific material while making nine city stops across the country over the course of three weeks this September.
Comprising nine carriages dating from the 1940s and 50s, the public art project will stop at each venue, ranging from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to St. Paul, Minnesota and Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a one-night only cultural festival, where the public can experience the inspiring intersection of art and music.
While the roster of big name music acts, such as Giorgio Moroder, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Thurston Moore & John Moloney, and Twin Shadow, may vary with location, visitors at each station can expect to see a series of five travelling yurt sculptures created by Carsten Höller, Urs Fischer, Kenneth Anger, Liz Glynn and Ernesto Neto. Video art by Nicolas Provost, Dara Birnbaum and Yayoi Kusama among others, will be projected in between performances. Supported by Levi's, the entire public project allows the public to experience the arts in unconventional forms.
'I've known Doug for 27 years, since he shot a cover for Iggy Pop for me,' reminisced Len Peltier, Levi's Global Vice-President of Creative Direction about the collaboration. 'When this project came to me three years ago it was a smaller idea, but Aitken had always had Levi's in mind. He figured we were the kind of brand that would connect with the whole railway station concept, with all the historical parallels and heritage, and he also liked our connections with artists, musicians and culture. When the time was finally right, we wanted to do the project in a more global way and turn it into more of a cultural festival.'
On board, the cultural studio will feature artist installations, including a drawing machine by Olafur Eliasson, and other creative pursuits. Chef Leif Hendendal will also execute culinary interventions on board and at each stop, which have been curated by culinary icon, Alice Waters. The train has been equipped with a recording studio and other workspaces, where artists and cultural figures can jump on to see where their collaborative efforts take them. Each of these interactions will be filmed, edited and shared on the Station to Station site, so that everyone can share in the experience.
All funds from ticket sales will go to support non-traditional programming at the projects partner institutions, ranging from MoMA PS1, Carnegie Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center, among many others.