IDEA: Three objects twisted and recombined, their original function transformed through inversion.
WHAT: Adam Basanta’s new solo exhibition ‘Inversion as a literary device’ at Galeria Školská 28, Prague (CZ). These are objects you often carry with you. You bought them in a store: a week ago, a few months ago, a year or two ago. You rarely leave your house without them. A pair of white ear buds, an iPhone, a pair of foam earplugs. Three objects which emit, amplify, transmit, and block sound. Three objects which enable and disable potentials for communications. Three objects that create, divide, and connect spaces: real and virtual, acoustic and electronic, sonic and visual.
WHY: A roundabout use, a reversal of normal order. Turning inside out and outside in. Inversion teases out new perspectives, new emphasis, a new meter, renewed meaning. What sort of resulting spaces are created, divided, reconnected and how are sound and listening situated in their midst?
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Adam Basanta, Plugs (the most important thing is), 2016
1200 pairs laser engraved foam ear plugs, performance instructions.
Earplugs are meant to keep out unwanted sound. However, the process of plugging our ears serves to amplify the corporeal soundscape: rather than hearing air-borne sound through our eardrums, we hear vibration conducted through the bones in our skull. Plugs (the most important thing is) proposes a double entendre: an appeal for self-reliance which recalls popular self-help psychology literature, as well as instructions for an interior soundwalk in which visitors become aware of their own corporeal soundscape as they trace a mental path through it.
Adam Basanta, Curtain (white), 2016
240 pairs white ear buds, 24 channel sound, acrylic, electronics.
The ubiquitous white earbud headphone creates an interior sonic environment into which one can retreat from the external world. Within this personalised sonic bubble, the headphones function as a visual ‘do not disturb’ sign. Curtain (white) plays on this notion by creating a 3m long ‘curtain’ which sections the gallery space visually and sonically. Patterns of white noise – a sound which masks surrounding sounds, often used in ‘sleep machines’ – sweep across the curtain. Despite the synthetic production techniques, the sound mass evokes organic memories of waves, wind, rain, and insects.
Adam Basanta, A Truly Magical Moment, 2016
iPhone 4s, selfie sticks, aluminum, electronics.
Two lovers in the middle of the dance floor. They link arms and begin to spin. The room blurs as they stare deep into each other’s eyes. Perhaps most iconically captured in James Cameron’s 1997 epic, Titanic, this classic scene is found throughout modern romantic cinema, complete with over-the-shoulder and point-of-view cinematography. In A Truly Magical Moment, visitors can re-enact this ‘Magical Moment’ using the contemporary communication tool for many long-distance relationships: Apple’s proprietary FaceTime technology. Gallery visitors and online guests can use their iPhones or computers to video chat the two FaceTime accounts. When two guests connect one to each phone in a virtual ‘face to face’, the sculpture begins to spin, reaching dizzying speeds while romantic music plays in the background. At top speed, the background blurs and warps, while the image of your dance-partner remains in focus. After 60 seconds of a ‘Truly Magical Moment’ – a wordless, ‘genuine connection’ with another person – the rotation slows down to a standstill, while a nearby digital counter keeps count of the amount of ‘Magical Moments’ enabled throughout the exhibition.