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CULTURE

Sleepwalkers Box

Artifacts collected from Doug Aitken's cinematic installation

by James Thorne
on 14 March 2012
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Following his lauded MoMA installation "Sleepwalkers" (2007), Doug Aitken has just released a limited edition box set of materials related to the project in collaboration with Princeton Architectural Press and DFA Records. The original piece turned MoMA's multiple courtyard facades into an interactive multiplex, simultaneously screening eight vignettes that each starred a different character. For fans of Aitken, the 1,000 numbered box sets—which cover the video project, music and stills—bring a new life to his ambitious project, providing insight into the process behind the work.

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Accompanying the DVD of the installation are two audio CDs and a vinyl disc, both of which are covered by original artwork by Aitken. Designed specifically to be spun at 33rpm, the record comes to life with an animation when played. The CDs act as soundtracks to Sleepwalkers, and the record includes three unreleased tracks by Broadcast in addition to an opera from Aitken entitled "The Handle Comes Up, The Hammer Comes Down".

An interview on the DVD between architect Jacque Herzog and Aitken anticipates the installation of Sleepwalkers on the soon-to-open new location of the Miami Art Museum, which was designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. As with all publications from Princeton Architectural Press, the box and components are meticulously bound to create a visually striking collection.

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The look of the original exhibition at MoMA is replicated in miniature form in two flip books in the set, and Aitken provides a double-sided poster as well—one side original artwork, the other a collage of movie stills and inspiration. Aside from the film itself, the most compelling piece is a book that shows the creation of Sleepwalkers through images and text. All told, the collection marks a testament to the artist's prolific range and talent across mediums.

The Sleepwalkers Box is available online through http://www.sleepwalkersbox.com for $300.

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