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One song, one melody, many styles, many meanings

On 18 April 2012, Pitchfork TV uploaded the art documentary video 'Doug Aitken - SONG 1 Installation' (video below) from the exhibition on the facades of the Hirshhorn Museum and announced the presentation of a Happening of the exhibition in collaboration with Wired on 11 May 2012.

Doug Aitken's (born 1968, living in New York and California) 'SONG 1' is a public space visual sound installation on the round facades of Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC (22 March to 13 May 2012, in the hours between sunset to midnight). The sound comes from the music piece 'I Only Have Eyes For You' (written in 1934) sung by various interprets with different styles like Beck, Lucky Dragons or actress Tilda Swinton.

Doug Aitken explains his 'SONG 1' installation as "a reflection of contemporary reality" and refers to the relationship and interdependence between the museum and the world around.

The non-linear story of the installation's moving pictures is mediated like a film on a 360° cinema-screen. Hirshhorn's deputy director and chief curator Kerry Brougher writes in his essay 'Decrystallized Music' on "... like illuminated architecture - its fluid and flowing images exist as part of the urban landscape, reflecting its realities, its stored database of shared memories, and even its mass dreams and fantasies."

Another essay on the artist's project website centers around the question how we are affected by music and gives answers from various points of view such as from philosophy or neurology. To mention only one fact which is central for the understanding of Doug Aitken's installation: the recipients' predispositions (which are results of brain programming that happens daily our whole life through by learning from experiences) are the base for the development of meaning - even if it's quasi the same content; only by changing the style of the song, new meaning can be generated.

"We bring so much information and emotion to the listening process that a change of style can be enough to change meaning..." states Dean Kuipers in his article 'Why We Love Music: Mapping and Remapping Reality in Doug Aitken's SONG 1' on

Find more information about the installation on the facades of the Hirshhorn Museum on

Video 'Doug Aitken - SONG 1 Installation', uploaded by Pitchfork TV on 18 April 2012.

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