by Lukas Hodge
Ariel Pink / art "yurts" / Yoshimi of Boredoms @ NYC Station to Station 9/6/2013
The cross country Station to Station tour, a public art project made possible by Levi's, was launched on Friday night in Williamsburg in a massive sound stage located right on the east river waterfront. Conceived by artist Doug Aitken, Station to Station involves a rotating cast of visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, and more who travel together on a single train. The NYC show, which happened at Riverfront Studios in Williamsburg on Friday (9/6), felt more like an art event (or Fashion Week party) than a concert and very much the "happening" it was billed as. (Most of these happen at actual train stations.) A welcome change to normal show-going.
Accompanying the musical aspects of the tour are rotating art installations, or, "Nomadic Sculptures." Designed by artists from all over the world, the pieces are built as small huts or "yurts." Watch a video below about the nomadic sculptures in Pittsburgh.
One of the yurts, designed by experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, worked as a screening room for his film "Lucifer Rising." Other sculptures included Belgian artist Carsten Höller's interactive yurt which was full of holes that participants could throw frisbees through. Another, maybe more ambitious, sculpture by Los Angeles artist Liz Glynn acts as an interactive reconstruction of the universe itself. Evolving as the tour goes on, her yurt began as a pitch black walk through complete with heavy black curtains and headlamps used by participants to navigate. All of the sculptures are positioned outside of the ticketed area, allowing anyone access to them (though this was not the case at the Brooklyn kickoff).
Additionally, tour sponsor, Levi's had their own yurts set up as well. One included a loom from which denim products were constructed in real time, personalized with patches and products sourced locally from each stop by artists, and then sold in another tent known as the "Makers yurt.
The Kansas City Cobras, a marching band based around community outreach for young teens, have been opening the nights up so far by performing outside and marching into the respective venue, collectively segueing into Los Angeles Sub Pop outfit No Age's set in an impressive display of collaboration. Intentional or not, it absolutely sets the tone for the entire Station to Station experience.
As for the music, Ariel Pink, YOSHIMO aka Yoshimi of Japanese experimental group Boredoms (who also opened for Kim Gordon's band Body/Head at Union Pool last night), and No Age (their second NYC show that week) all performed at both New York and Pittsburgh dates. Electronic pioneers Suicide headlined the Brooklyn kickoff show and their sandblasting noise was as loud as any metal band. Thurston Moore and John Moloney joined the tour in Pittsburgh (and dedicated songs to both Yoko Ono and the Steelers).
On the entire nationwide tour, the stage is wrapped in three giant screens which work as both impressive lighting/backdrop for the performances and also to showcase short films between sets. There were also non-musical between-band performances, like a slo-mo choreographed piece on rollerskates. The Brooklyn kickoff finished with a bit of pyrotechnics: a metal trellis wired with a rainbow of smoke bombs exploded against a battery of bright lights. Pictures from the whole night are in this post.
Station to Station hit Chicago last night (9/10). Mavis Staples joined the party in the windy city, and we'll have a full report and pictures from that soon up on BV Chicago. The next stop is in Minneapolis on Thursday (9/12) with No Age, Eleanor Friedberger and White Mystery.
Check out more pictures from the NYC kickoff event, as well as some from Pittsburgh, below.
NYC - Riverfront Studios 9/6/2013
The Kansas City Cobras
Yoshimi of Boredoms
Ariel Pink's Haunted Grafitti
Pittsburgh, Union Station 9/8/2013
Touring the Nomadic Sculptures
Thurston Moore and John Moloney