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In the summer of 2013, a train designed as a kinetic light sculpture by artist Doug Aitkin travelled from NYC to San Francisco over 24 days. Visiting ten stations en route, the train set in motion a series of happenings, each site-specific and unique to the creative participants. In the UK and Europe we might moan about delays, prices and overcrowding but we do have a widespread train service. In North America, maybe because of the vast distances and dominant car culture, going by train is more of a rarity.
 
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STATION TO STATION is a mindblowing blend of profiles, intimate moments on the train, conversations and performances. Each comprises a minute although some artists are allowed to do several minutes or to blend performances with each other after a solo.
 
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Some minutes fly by in a blink; others drag. This is all part of the process and leaves you wishing you could watch it several times in a row.
 
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Gary Indiana’s ‘The Devil Of Our Age’ is truly wonderful; Cold Cave a revelation; Italian architect Paolo Soleri demands a more thorough investigation and Jackson Browne’s musings hilarious in ‘Leaving Winslow’: “I’m over qualified for any other ride I can think of, I got a PhD in Sun and Wind and Rain, I had a reservation ‘bout every occupation I was ever on the brink of, ‘Til the day my heart got given to the rhythm of the train.”
 
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Olafur Eliasson’s motion-driven paintings are so beautiful, a simple idea maybe but mesmerising all the same. Some of the performances are maybe a little self-indulgent – that’s where the 60 seconds are perfect, no matter how irritating you perceive it as, you know it won’t be for long. The mix of subject matter is also very inspiring. William Eggleston will make you want to pick up a camera and document all those great details you see around you when you walk around your neighbourhood; Savages’ striking lead singer Jehnny Beth will make you want to get a suede head for Summer; Theesatisfaction’s clever rhymes and melting melodies will mellow you out.
 
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STATION TO STATION is now on general release. In conjunction with this, the Barbican invites you to Doug Aitken’s ‘living exhibition’; more than 100 FREE multi arts events taking place over 30 days till  27th July 2015 with special ticketed evening events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, bringing artists from the worlds of visual art, music, dance and design together.
 
Words by Anna Bang
 
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Tags

anna bang, Barbican, Cold Cave, Doug Aitken, Gary Indiana, Jackson Browne, Jehnny Beth, Olafur Eliasson, Paolo Soleri, Savages, Theesatisfaction, William Eggleston,