Quote of Note | Doug Aitken

A view of “SONG 1,” an installation by Doug Aitken that was projected nightly (from sunset to midnight) on the façade of the Hirshhorn from March 22 through May 20.

“My first studio in New York [was] the most miserable studio in the world. It had no windows, no heating or cooling, these dirty wooden floors, 400 square feet or something, and I’m trying to make work there. One day I noticed a piece of plywood nailed to the brick wall. I figured, wow, maybe there’s a window. So I pried this filthy wooden thing off and behind it there was a space with air blowing through. There was no window. There was this aperture, and then one foot further was the brick wall of the building behind it. Only one foot. And no light came down the shaft. A few days later, I was on the street and I found a window out by a dumpster, and I carried it back and I mounted it in there, and suddenly I had a framing of the outside world, even though my depth perception was one foot. I never forgot that, because it made me recognize the importance of cropping. In the films I make, I have never been able to relinquish control of the camera. I shoot everything myself. I need to be in the lens because framing is the editing of the image. Narrative is what is left out. Creating an image is an exorcism of choices.”

-Artist Doug Aitken in a conversation with architect Brad Cloepfil that appears in the gorgeous monograph Allied Works Architecture Brad Cloepfil: Occupation (Gregory R. Miller & Co.).

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