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Olaf Breuning’s Smoke Performance
Olaf Breuning’s Smoke PerformancePhoto: Brian Doyle, courtesy of 303 Gallery, New York

What to see at the Barbican’s Station to Station

Doug Aitken brings his vast collaborative project to London this weekend, featuring the finest in film, visual and multimedia artists

LA-based multimedia artist Doug Aitken is known for his ambitious work: "Altered Earth", the two-storey high installation that straddled the line between architecture, landscape and art was an almost hallucinogenic experience. His 2007 Sleepwalkers exhibition in MoMA stretched across an entire Manhattan block with projections that challenged the perception of normal streets, and featured Donald Sutherland, Tilda Swinton, Seu Jorge and Cat Power.

Now, Aitken has a huge collaborative project for the Barbican. Station to Station is a multi-faceted, ‘living exhibition’ that’s connecting a range of artists on varying platforms, making use of both indoor and outdoor space. The 30 day ‘happening’ is the real life accumulation of his film project of the same name. It includes work from over 100 artists with over 50 live performances by filmmakers, visual and multimedia artists. Dazed have narrowed down what you absolutely can’t miss.


The festival kicks off with the UK premiere of Aitken's Station to Station film, made up of 62 one-minute shorts in a bold wrap around experience in the level 3 Art Gallery, showcasing a train journey stretched across the gliterring American landscape. It stops at 10 different stations, with 10 artistic performances and experiences in fast, choppy fragments that mimic the movement of the train. Artists like Patti Smith and Beck are along for the journey through modern creativity, as well as a few flamenco dancers and visual artist Olafur Eliasson. There will be previously unseen footage shown throughout the festival, and the gallery will be sountracked by DJ-VJ Austin Meredith.  


Utilising the soaring architecture of the Barbican, London-based Forsyth and Pollard have created a film inspired by the chaotic tragedy of John Milton's Paradise Lost. The pair plan to shoot a new two-channel video work through the duration of the first half of the festival, edit their film and premiere in the Gallery. Forsyth and Pollard are known for their innovative recreations in visual art: A Rock 'N' Roll Suicide in 1998 recreated Bowie's last performance as the wonderous Ziggy Stardust, which happened 25 years prior. File under Scared Music in 2003 saw them faithfully remake The Cramp's 1978 performance at Napa State Mental Institute in California. Their film 20,000 Days on Earth about Nick Cave's 20,000th day on Earth was also fanatasically received at Sundance. The pair will be present for a Q&A session: your chance to see into the minds of the artists. 

Showing Sunday 26 July


Marcus Coates' work is confrontational – harnessing the natural and exotic world to make his statement. Whether it's "Sparrow Hawk Bait", where he ran through the woods swathed in dead birds, or his 2004 Lower World show which saw him partake in a shaman-like ritual, wearing a deerskin, outside a soon-to-be demolished Liverpool tower block. Now, Coates is making use of another faction of the natural world, inviting viewers to use his painting services with his new residency. He will create new work based around questions posed to him by the public: you can just turn up and ask Coates, or sign up via pre-booked consultations. This participatory art could be more daring than the animal skins and rituals, as issues of limitless gravity come into play beyond Coates' control. 

Saturday-Wednesday throughout the festival, except July 11 and 12 


Vega's proto-punk set Suicide brought a reverberating, minimalist aesthetic to New York's scuzzy 70s punk scene. Sporadically popping up over the past few decades, including a slot at Primavera in Barcelona and the Station to Station film, here's your chance to see Vega perform in another medium. Despite the roving success of Suicide, he managed to keep a productive art career running in tandem; studying at Brooklyn college and producing work as a sculptor, performance artist and visual artist. He's now taking up an art residency to create biro portraits of the public on Ace Hotel stationary. 

8 July 


New Movement Collective are a dance group that intertwines dancers and choreographers with coloured, shared backgrounds in prestigious insitutions such as the English National Ballet and Gothenburg Ballet. They'll be working alongside ScanLAB Projects, a 3D scanning studio, and cellist Oliver Coates to create a performance which blurs the lines between audio, visual and live experience. The work is inspired by the moving life span, burgeoning technology and archaeology in an immediate setting, with live 3D printing and audio guides. The performance will be accompanied by a Q&A. 

Performances July 18-26 


Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson brings his kinetic drawing machine, designed specially for Aitken's Station to Station project, and his collection of drawings in the exhibition titled Connecting Cross Country with a Line. During Aitken's original moving project, the machine made use of the train's movement to draw the fast-passing, sloping landscapes. Eliasson is a master of large space and big-scale installation, harnessing all of the elements in his work: his installation "The Weather Project" made use of humidifiers filled with sugar and water and large lamps in the turbine hall of the Tate, and what he brings to the Barbican is sure to be invoke his ideas behind a multi-sensory project. 


The Dalston-based alternative radio station NTS plays host to the first Station to Station late-night event. They'll be bringing a live AV show with Berlin-based producer and young blood artist J.G Biberkopf, who performs with a dreamy ambience and off-rhythm, ethereal beats that pay homage to early grime and musique concrete. He's accompanied by Beatrice Dillion, a London-based DJ and composer, alongside photographer Anne Tetzlaff and cartoonish artist Jack Sachs. Expect a diverse audio-visual landscape at the feet of the Barbican. 

7pm Saturday June 27. Tickets £12 plus booking fee


A noise-rock band hailing from Osaka, Japan, Boredoms take experimental to a whole other level- or planet, or universe. Through several line-up changes, they've found fans and friends in the form of Sonic Youth and Nirvana. Boredoms have been hailed for their manic, individual take on the frame of punk rock, and their discography is a rag-tag mix of math rock and new noise, even coining their own genre 'Japanoise'. Their recent musical ventures have become more minimal, tribal and ambient: what they're bringing to the festival is a new 88-cymbal player performance. 

8.30pm Saturday June 27. Tickets £20-25 plus booking fee


Fancy a sit down? Find yourself surrounded by yards of luxurious cream and white fabrics, suggestive lighting and a set-the-mood discoball above a huge bed in Urs Fischer's self-appointed 'honeymoon suite'. The Yurt is devoted to legendary underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger. Anger's work explores homoeroticism in a surrealistic environment, such as Scorpio Rising, and the nomadic nature of the yurt lends itself to his fast-moving and diverse portfolio. Find the yurt and settle down in the Sculpture Court, and if you really, really love yurts, check out Ernesto Neto and LA-based artist Liz Glynn's darker, immersive contribution soaked in saturated light. 

Sunday to Wednesday 12–6pm, Thursday to Saturday 12–10pm


A sculptor, illustrator and video artist, Olaf Breuning's work is a technicolour mix of florals, marble, metal and...plastic boobs. His installation at The Standard Hotel in Miami, where a pool was filled with plastic flowers and boobs is still one of his most talked about. Breuning will build a grid similar to a fireworks display to light and let off a rainbow of coloured smoke bombs is a fun experience for both the viewer and the artist.  The Swiss-born, New York-based artist's smoke performance brings decadent colour and movement to the festival in a typical playful and exciting way.