The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Sep 04, 2013

Doug Aitken's cross-country Station to Station tour rolls into Union Depot next week

Posted by sschouweiler

Doug Aitken’s cross-country Station to Station tour is rolling into St. Paul’s Union Depot soon, for a one-night-only public art spectacle with live music, art, film and food. The New York/L.A.-based installation artist is taking a three-week “nomadic happening” on the rails, crossing the country from New York to San Francisco by train from September 6 to 28. His traveling multimedia show will make stops in nine cities along the way, featuring a different mix of contributions from both local and global artists in each location.

Station to Station rolls into St. Paul's Union Depot Thursday, September 12.

There’s an extensive profile by Wired magazine's Clive Thompson on the project, well worth reading if you'd like to dig deeper into the back-story. Thompson describes Station to Station as “a very strange bird,” and its range of participating artists across the country “almost comically diverse,” noting that “New York magazine has called it ‘Coachella on wheels.’”

Thompson writes:

 A flamenco dancer is scheduled to perform in California; the artist Olafur Eliasson wants to make a “drawing machine” that will autocreate an artwork as it traverses the country. Aitken is angling to get dance music pioneer Giorgio Moroder to hop on board, gathering samples and music to produce “an extended mix that goes across the country.” Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto is donating a sort of ceremonial yurt that Aitken will … well, do something with. The live components are part of the point he’s making: In a world where you can call up culture on demand, live shows have become the one non-copyable, non-streamable, totally intimate experience.

His goal? To make art that’s simultaneously physical and virtual, local and global, broadcast using a mashup of the Internet and one of the oldest networks in the U.S., the steel rails. … “We’re living in a new topography,” Aitken says. “Is it possible to be everywhere and nowhere?”

When Station to Station stops in Minneapolis/St. Paul next week, there will be live performances by Patti Smith, BodyCartography Project, Eleanor Friedberger, No Age, White Mystery and others. In addition, visitors to the show will see a wide assortment of art works, including a number of short films and video installations, as well as “nomadic sculptures” and “printed matter” by an impressive lineup of local and national artists.

Photo of the traveling art train courtesy of Station to Station. Photo of the traveling art train courtesy of Station to Station.

Find a full list of participating artists on the Station to Station website. The Twin Cities-based event will be Thursday night, at St. Paul’s Union Depot, from 6 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online. For more information, visit

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