It is always awe inspiring to see an artist steer away from the path of more conventional canvases and movie screens in to the ambitious and daunting arena of merging their work with nature and urban backdrops around them. Doug Aitken is working to accomplish exactly that with his innovative 360 degree work of art that will turn the modernist cylindrical top of the Hirshborn Museum’s exterior in to an enormous looping screen in our nation’s capital.
The goal of “SONG1” is to create an artistic experience that engages art viewers and casual pedestrians, making them move to different viewing angle to enjoy different portions of the original film Aitken is creating specifically for this very original project, or simply enjoy the moving piece from a single view. The film itself is a difficult enough piece of artwork, as most movies and films created for 360 degree viewing have all been indoors, on concave screens. This allows the audience to fully view the entire show. Having such broad coverage over an area that cannot fully be seen by its viewers is, if nothing, a unique way to approach a piece of art like this.
As the movie quickly moves from mundane to universal and back again at sixty beats per minute, a well-known classic “I Only Have Eyes for You” will accompany it. The piece has had many different recording artists since its composition, and is well known for its appearances in movies going back all the way to 1934.
Such a publicly visible piece of artwork makes the display a highly accessible example of urban art, and promises to revolutionize how people view museums, and the artwork contained therein… or on.