Adam Basanta

Adam Basanta
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Mixed-Media Artist, Experimental composer & performer
ADAM BASANTA
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ABOUT ADAM BASANTA

Adam Basanta is a Montreal-based mixed-media artist, experimental composer, and performer. His work investigates technology as a meeting point of concurrent, overlapping systems; a nexus of cultural, computational, biological, and economic forces. In uncovering, augmenting, and creating systems of intertwinement, he is trying to touch a sense of “liveness” or a nearly- living quality, the dynamism resulting from the unpredictable performances of various actants pulling independently in collective balance.

Through a variety of media – installation, kinetic sculpture, sound, computational image-making – he employs the visual culture of commercial technologies as a core vocabulary, displacing them into an artistic context. Placing technologies in unconventional and absurd relationships to one another, he aims to create a fissure in their conventional functions, reflecting on their roles as contemporary prosthetics with which we co-exist in a hybrid ecology.

Adam Basanta Mixed media wicked artist

Since 2015, his works have been exhibited in galleries and institutions including the Musée des beaux- arts de Montréal (CAN), Optica Centre d’art contermporain (CAN), Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH), Arsenal Art Contemporain (CAN), Galerie Charlot (FRA), National Art Centre Tokyo (JPN), V Moscow Biennale for Young Art (RUS), Carroll/Fletcher Gallery (UK), American Medium Gallery (NYC), Serralves Museum (POR), Edith- Russ-Haus fur Mediakunst (GER), York Art Gallery (UK), and The Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (USA).

His installations have been awarded prizes in Canada (Prix Pierre Ayot 2019, Sobey Art Award Longlist 2018 and 2020) and internationally (Japan Media Arts Prize 2016, Aesthetica Art Prize 2017). He is currently represented by Ellephant Gallery (Montreal).

LIVE PERFORMANCES & INTERACTIVE INSTALLATIONS

SMALL MOVEMENTS

small movements - adam basanta

Small Movements is a physical sound performance using tuned microphone feedback, modified amplification techniques, and kinetic elements. The sonic performance relies on collaboration of performer’s actions, the tendencies of sound production equipment, and the modification of acoustic and spatial relationships between various technologies.

All sounds are created through the physical acoustic interaction of handheld microphones, speaker cones, and physical filters, with no use of digital looping or synthesis. This performance is a meditation on the instabilities of sound production; the quiet, fragile and delicate phenomena resulting from the intertwining of sonic technologies.

CURTAIN (WHITE)

Curtain white Adam Basanta

The ubiquitous white earbud headphone creates an interior sonic environment into which one can retreat from the external world. Within this personalized 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.

A TRULY MAGICAL MOMENT

A Truly Magical Moment - ADAM BASANTA

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 communication tool for many long-distance relationships: Apple’s proprietary FaceTime technology.

Gallery visitors and online guests can use their iPhones to video-chat the two FaceTime accounts. When two guests connect 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.

POSITIVE VIBES

Positive Vibes Adam Basanta

In 1938, Adolf Hitler famously claimed that without the public loudspeaker, the Nazi’s would have never conquered Germany. Subsequent use of amplified sound in public space, while less nefarious, is often cast in a negative light: as a warning signal (bomb sirens, fire alarms, and police sirens) or public nuisance (advertisement, noise pollution, and noise complaints).

Positive Vibes attempts to flip these notions on their head through a series of public interventions. On several separate occasions, a small portable stereo system, suspended in mid-air by a bouquet of colorful, helium-filled party balloons, has been released in public spaces in central Turku. As the small stereo system floats above unsuspecting passers by, it repeats the phrase “I love you” in English and Finnish.

Both visually and sonically, the work intends to send out “positive vibes” in the midst of early-fall workdays.

ADAM BASANTA IN ACTION

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