Song 1 / Doug Aitken
Jun 29 – Dec 30, 2018

Doug Aitken

SONG 1 is a 35-minute-long sound and video installation created by artist Doug Aitken. Within the framework of a pop song, the classic I Only Have Eyes for You, Aitken has created a compelling and spatial video work reflecting present day urban landscapes that reference the cultural history of modernity.

 

Doug Aitken

Doug Aitken

Different versions of the well known song form the underlying structure in the monumental sound and video collage SONG 1. The artwork is a rhythmic flow of video clips that are projected onto a large circular screen. This is an immersive artwork for the viewer, one that the audience can both walk around as well as step into. The song is a classic jazz standard from 1934, known across the world for its melancholy tune and romantic lyrics. Deeply embedded in the musical DNA of American cultural life, it has appeared in countless versions – the best known being The Flamingo’s version from 1959 characterized by its slow ‘doowop’ R&B sound.

For SONG 1, Doug Aitken invited different musicians to record their versions of the song, echoing the song’s own history and its multiple interpretations through the decades – including Beck, Lucky Dragons, and No Age. Also interpreting the song visually are actress Tilda Swinton, street dancers and gospel singers who appear in the artwork.

 

Doug Aitken

Doug Aitken

SONG 1’s visual side oscillates between past and present, from stylized black and white clips that reference the influence of the stage and television screen to present-day hyper modernized metropolitan cities with crowds of people and pulsing light. Here men and women are seen in varied environments – the workplace, in cafés, in studios, and in traffic – singing the familiar tune.

 

Doug Aitken

The song’s minimalistic beat speeds up to echo the abstracted dynamic visual clips of a metropolis, where the search for love and belonging repeats itself across time and place and reminds the viewer of a universality of human experience. The simplicity of the song, the soulful backing choir, and the repetitive chorus emphasize a common ground, humanity linked through human emotions and experience. In the coupling of the visual representations of men versus women, the city versus the individual, the present versus the past, the work is an exploration of modernity and the conditions that influence our lives today.

 

Song 1 / Doug Aitken
June 29 – December 30, 2018 / Copenhagen Contemporary
Supported by Statens Kunstfond and Tæppeland
Please visit the exhibition page >

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