Sleepwalkers

by Dominic Flask on June 8, 2012

in Interactive, Motion, Photography

Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

Sleepwalkers was a multimedia art experience created by Doug Aitken and presented at the MOMA in 2007. The exhibition was comprised of a series of 8 moving images that were broadcast on the exterior of the MOMA buildings and consisted of the stories of 5 individuals who represented every day citizens of New York City. Five years after the exhibition, Princeton Architectural Press has produced the Sleepwalkers Box documenting the monumental exhibition.

Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

Echoing the sensory inclusiveness of the exhibition, the box includes a poster, record, CD, DVD, large format book and two smaller sized books. All of which are packaged in an impressively die cut casing. Unearthing all of the parts and pieces is an experience in and of itself. Each piece is cleverly concealed beneath the piece on top of it and revealed upon removal, never leaving you disappointed as you dive into the box.

Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

To give you a good idea of what the moving images from the installation consisted of, the DVD includes a linear edit of Sleepwalkers, as well as a walkthrough of the installation. Along with the DVD and the books, the audio tracks on the CD and record round out the multi-sensory experience.

Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

The printed pieces in the box are primarily comprised of images and are labeled as “Fragments, Markings and Images from the Making of Sleepwalkers“. While all three books contain images, they are complimented by some concise text in only the larger of the three.

Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

Most of the text seemingly comes from the characters portrayed in each of the 5 story lines.

I am flying over the White Sea…I have never heard of the White Sea before. It appears to be somewhere very north of St. Petersburg, possibly an extension of Siberia. I squint my eyes and look out the small aircraft porthole; first I see only whiteness, then my eyes adjust and I see the definition of white clouds.
Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

The box set gives people who weren’t able to attend the original exhibition a truly experiential peek at what they missed. The continuous stream of visual, auditory and tactile information are a good reflection of what it must have been like to have seen it in person, projected on the exterior walls of the MOMA.

Doug Aitken's Sleepwalkers

(Click to enlarge)

Sleepwalkers is published by Princeton Architectural Press and you can purchase it here.

About the Reviewer

Dominic Flask is a designer by nature, a teacher by application and a thoughtful companion by friendship. You can view his design portfolio here, his place of work here, and his in progress work here.