A loving portrayal of modern landscapes and human vulnerability

Song 1Fragmented reality, the vulnerable, emotional, human experience within city landscapes, a moving ode to a love song …… how to describe Doug Aitken’s Song 1? A loving portrayal of day to day living in the concDSC_4065-01rete urban arena and how popular music interweaves and becomes a part of a living city fabric. The installation is a big circular screen on which disjointed but intertwined images of singers – both professional and people from the street – sing a few lines of a single song to different rhythms. A woman in a parking garage, or at the bus station, workers in a textile factory, customers and cooks at a diner, drivers in cars. The backdrop of concrete and steel contrasts – but is also very much a part of  – the flesh and blood of human emotions.

A selection of installations and sculptures by American artist Doug Aitken are on display at the Schirn Kunsthalle. Song 1 is fascinating. But there is more. Black mirror is an impression of modern nomadic living which can be summarized with the phrase “check-in, check-out”. Migration (empire) gives us an animal interpretation of hotel rooms and disrupts our understanding of reality by doing so. The Sonic fountain II produces weirdly meditative natural sounds in a building site setting. Fascinating and well worth a – and maybe several – visits.

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