By Don Simpson | January 25, 2015
Director: Doug Aitken
Over a period of three weeks in September 2013, a bedazzled train traveled from New York City to San Francisco, making seven other stops along the way. Doug Aitken’s goal with this project was to connect key players in the underground worlds of art, music, food, literature, and film, and have them participate in the creation of a series of “nomadic happenings” across the United States.
What is most striking about Aitken’s Station to Station is the way the film’s kinetic aesthetic structure mimics the feeling of traveling by train. The 61 one-minute short films pass along the screen like the ever-changing landscape outside of a train window. Each short film represents something unique, like a land formation or building that might gain your attention; before you know it, something new catches your eye. Yet with so many images passing by, the individual units eventually become a blur. For most viewers, the short films associated with familiar names (Kenneth Anger, Patti Smith, Thurston Moore, Beck, Cat Power, Eleanor Friedberger) will likely become the most memorable; but hopefully everyone will walk away from Station to Station with a renewed interest in train travel.