Station to Station is a travelling kinetic sculpture, cultural studio and public art project conceived by the artist Doug Aitken and supported by Levi's. Photography: © Station to Station, Doug Aitken, 2013
Aitken has turned much of the exterior of the train into a light sculpture. As it makes its way across the US, the colours and rhythm of the lights will react to its motion and the surrounding environment
The nine, privately-owned cars of the train date from the 1940s and 50s. They were used on the streamliners of the 1950s and sold off in the 80s
The Hiawatha carriage, where Doug Aitken will be conducting and filming interviews with his fellow travelers
The recording car
A 1901 Underwood typewriter has been tuned up to connect its users directly to the web. Any messages typed up will be released to the world via Twitter
The train is making nine stops across the country over the course of three weeks. At each stop, it will bring with it a series of travelling yurt sculptures - pictured here in a Beaux-Arts rotunda at the Pittsburgh station - by Carsten Höller, Urs Fischer, Kenneth Anger, Liz Glynn and Ernesto Neto, which will be part of a one-night-only cultural festival that also includes musical performances and video art
Carsten Höller's characteristically playful take on a yurt. Named the 'Ball and Frisbee House', it invites visitors to move around and within it, while throwing foam balls and Frisbees through each of its openings
Kenneth Anger's red yurt consists of a screening area where visitors can sit and watch three of his experimental films: Invocation of my Demon Brother (1969), Lucifer Rising (1970-81) and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)
Smoke and mirrors in Urs Fischer's yurt, where a white bed takes pride of place
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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.
The train is currently weaving its way across the US and will arrive at its final destination in Oakland, California, on 28 September. A limited number of $5,000 tickets to ride one train leg are available for purchase though Artspace