Barbican’s biggest ever cross-arts event, Station to Station, rolls into town

Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening. Suicide. Picture: Doug Aitken

Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening. Suicide. Picture: Doug Aitken - Credit: Archant

As Doug Aitken brings his ambitious arts project across the pond, Alex Bellotti looks at what we can expect.

In September 2013, American multi-media artist Doug Aitken chartered a train in North America, travelling 4000 miles from the Atlantic sea to the Pacific. Over the 23 days of the journey, he enlisted the help of a constantly changing group of ‘creatives’ to create a ‘living exhibition’, and this month, he’ll be restaging the experience at the Barbican Centre for a groundbreaking month-long event.

Taking place from June 27 until July 26, Station to Station will bring together an inspiring, diverse fusion of international artists from the worlds of contemporary art, music, dance, graphic design and film. For the venue’s head of visual arts, Jane Alison, the event represents a particular milestone as the Barbican’s biggest cross-arts festival to date.

“It’s an opportunity for artists to do things that they might not have thought of before, or have always wanted to do but haven’t had the time, space or money to do before,” she explains.

“What’s also interesting is not just bringing artists who are from a range of disciplines – musicians, artists, graphics designers, choreographers, dancers – but also having the public able to come in and see the creative process at work.”

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With over 100 artists already programmed for the event, there’s certainly plenty for audiences to discover and Alison hopes such diversity will even encourage visitors to attend on multiple days.

Amongst countless potential highlights, a concert hall performance by ‘70s synth-punk band Suicide sits alongside Pedro Reyes’ intriguing ‘spiritual speed dating’ and Ed Ruscha’s ‘100 cactus omelette’ dinners.

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Further musical acts such as EMA, Marcus Coates and Savages will be joined by musicians in residence – including Lonelady, Nozinja and Terry Riley – who will be able to produce exclusive Station to Station recordings in The Vinyl Factory’s mobile vinyl pressing unit. These records will be sold in the gallery shop and feature album artwork produced by resident graphic designers.

Doug Aitken, whose Station to Station feature film will be making its UK debut during the event, says: “The Barbican is unique, as a cultural institution that embraces all mediums.

“Within this environment, Station to Station will generate creative experimentation and collaboration as part of a living exhibition that welcomes the unexpected.”

Station to Station runs from June 27 until July 26 at the Barbican Centre. Visit

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