“And then the camera moves to the car next to that, the car behind that, the car in front of that, and you have this stream of lights moving through nighttime and the building isn’t the museum, the museum starts to break apart into multiple screens — and in each screen is the interior of a different vehicle all moving simultaneously, with the different drivers all synchronized to the same moment in the same song.”
Brougher says it speaks to “the kind of world we live in now. Many of us exist separate from one another, but are linked through other mechanisms. We’re linked in traffic, or in all hearing the same song.”
In that sense the film will contrast these “quite private moments” with “a larger choreography” that will “fuse with the city around it.”
Aitken often uses actors in the films he projects so monumentally, including Tilda Swinton, Donald Sutherland and Chloe Sevigny (with Swinton among those participating in the Hirshhorn project).
But more than actors, the work, as the title indicates, may rely more on musicians performing a specific pop standard first written by composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin in 1934 that has had a number of recorded versions since, “I Only Have Eyes for You.”
The song first presented in a movie called “Dames” and perhaps best known from the 1959 doo-wop hit by the Flamingos, is so universally known, Aitken says, “It’s almost like a sonic wallpaper. It’s ubiquitous, the kind of thing everyone has passed through or heard in a gas station at some point in their life.”
Brougher says that with no fixed central vantage point to the piece visually, it is the song that anchors it.
“The tempo for it is set at 60 beats per minute, and it’s continued all the way through the film at 60 beats for minute,” Brougher says. “This I think came out of his challenge of finding the right tempo for things to be cut, to intercut around the building and to circle around the building. He found early on that if things went too fast it didn’t feel right; if it went too slow it didn’t seem right. This seemed like a tempo that worked for the creation of the piece.”
Inspired by the song’s simplicity, Aitken says he wondered: “Could you take the architecture of something that’s so lean and pure and simple in structure,
and could you elevate it to become an artwork on its own and to become something [with] which you could almost create a visual architecture?”
And, he adds, “within that framework, you could then use it as a way to map a 21st-century world, the people of a modern city.”