LUX 01: William Basinski & James Elaine | Video Exhibition

lux 01 – William Basinski & James Elaine | video exhibition, 2014, poster.

October 18 – November 16, 2014
Museolaboratorio Ex Manifattura Tabacchi
Vico Lupinato 1, Città Sant’Angelo (Pescara) – Italy

William Basinski & James Elaine

Marco Marzuoli, Rossano Polidoro, Enzo De Leonibus
Enzo De Leonibus

01. William Basinski & James Elaine. In the late seventies, James Elaine and William Basinski began a very close work collaboration creating some of the most poetic installations of the 21st century. Using original scores, stolen sounds, echoes and tape loops, Basinski’s compositions generate a dreamy nest for Elaine’s hesitating paintings in super 8. Exploiting obsolete and analog technologies, Basinski and Elaine investigate the temporary nature of life.

A path composed of 5 audiovisual “contemplations” will lead you through the twisty rooms of the Museolaboratorio revealing the dreams of the two American artists.

Useless melancholy
Often contemporary art’s expositive system struggles to accept – and meld with – its neighboring languages without swallowing them up awkwardly. For instance, music is frequently relegated to minor confines, being considered for its conceptual features rather than its own aesthetics. However, before getting into the deep core of Basinski / Elaine’s symbiotic universe, I believe we should free their work in the macro field of the art. The “museumification” of the signs immerged in the blue of Blueprints on a Winter Pond or the lingering trajectories of Nocturne (TV in Africa) means recognizing their substance, volumes and surfaces. It means discovering them as sediments of memories, exploring them as fossils of sound and vision. Idols. Unique
 in their irreproducibility but easily duplicable, William’s magnetic tapes, just like James’ super-8 ones, are minerals to be engraved by artistic actions of pure beauty: a rare example in the contemporary art scenario where physical and intellectual properties share the same meaning. They are records of impressed memories, works of art that, in the modern digital era, claim their existence as such, free from the novellistic and functional approach. The impossible, eternal and nostalgic research of the American duo shatters and decontextualizes the signifier through its interpretation. Exploring Basinski/Elaine’s work is very much like getting lost in a vintage market and buying memories already consumed by the current consumer world.