To look at the night sky, you’d never know we’re in the midst of pandemic. City lights blaze—and music blasts—in defiance of death. The light pollution blots out all but the brightest objects. Ray said, “We should declare a holiday from light.”
Bicycling through the revelry in The Bronx with Raison Rivas, we saw two bright beacons in the sky; so bright, I thought they were planets. My phone taught us that both are part of Ophiuchus, actually binary stars, and close – Sabik is only 88 light years away, Yed Prior, 171.
Gryphon Rue and I discuss what we see in our work – what does it evoke, what did we invoke? Looking back at this AV improvisation with a half-year’s hindsight, we can see the moving constellations that were hiding in the light. Windstorms, sonar, insects, atoms/particles; above all, a space dreydl dominates the inner and outer space that we experience in this work. In Yiddish, “outer space” is oysveynixt plats; “inner space” is iner plats. We’re spinning the space dreydl to celebrate the miracle of speeding light particles that time does not extinguish.
Vector Hack Festival will feature researchers, developers, and performers from around the world as well as from the strong regional scene of Italy, Austria and Croatia. This unique combination of community meeting, conference, and international arts festival will again bring together practitioners in the field of laser and oscilloscope art for talks, workshops and live performances. It is a chance to experience audiovisual works which employ unusual, analog, and sometimes obsolete display technologies, and to bathe your eyes in a different kind of light. Experimental vector graphics artists use lasers, analog oscilloscopes, old video game consoles, mechanical drawing machines, and other equipment to produce images using an X, Y, and Z coordinate system. They often feed these display devices with elaborate handmade electronic synthesizers, complex custom-made software, or other experimental instruments of their own design. The resultant images are sinuous, intensely energetic, and radically different from what’s seen on a digital screen!
Like most of us on Spaceship Earth, I’m going a little stir crazy. While working on my studio tan, I’m making new work with my video synths and digging through my archives. I’ve posted some videos to amuse you, soothe you, or just confuse you. #StayHome and healthy!
Howling: Healing, NeedYouNow, Bind and Phases are the first four of 13 videos I’m making in my home video synth studio—one for each track on the new album, ‘Colure’, coming 24 July on Counter Records.
Rue Bainbridge, the media art duo of Gryphon Rue and Benton C Bainbridge, intersect expanded cinema with sonic art. Bainbridge plays a hacked game console to generate light drawings. For Rue, these glowing patterns become a score, with visual rhythmicity suggesting electro-acoustic events.
Alone Together is a networked media performance by Rue Bainbridge. The artists improvised together, alone in their home studios, via webcam conferencing software.
Bainbridge & Held premiere their latest media artwork with Experimental Intermedia NYC SCREEN COMPOSITIONS
Edition #16 curated by Katherine Liberovskaya, 2020
For its 16th edition Screen Compositions brings you again without fail a collection of inspiring and inspired intersections of moving image with sonic art; a program of screen works representing dynamic two-way collaborations between video/film artists and sound/music artists specifically intended for single-channel projection with no live or performance component; featuring collaborations by: Benton Bainbridge / Barbara Held; Nathalie Bujold / Michel Langevin (Voivod); Alexandra Dementieva / Guy De Bièvre; Bradley Eros / Lea Bertucci; Muyassar Kurdi / Ka Baird; Katherine Liberovskaya / Phill Niblock; Geoff Matters / Mike Lerner; Eiichi Tosaki & Jutta Pryor / Hitomi Honda; Twin Automat (Irini Karayannopoulou+Sandrine Cheyrol) / Yannis Saxonis; Adriana Vila Guevara / Alfredo Costa Monteiro
Screen Compositions is freely viewable online for your enjoyment during isolation days.
Sprouts, Grapes, Artichokes is one of Benton C Bainbridge‘s earliest works made at Experimental TV Center, using Korg MS-20 with Dave Jones Sequencer and other custom video synths by Dave Jones Design.
Lord Knows Compost rehearses My President, My Nixon at The Farm in San Francisco, circa 1995.
“The most exuberantly live of all live video works are those by Stackable Thumb. Their events are more like concerts, or as they say, vaudeville shows, than video projections. Perhaps this reflects these artists’ relative analog bias. In performance, Valued Cu$tomer and Naval Cassidy perform manic actions, such as burning small objects or destroying them on a grinding machine. At the same time they use tiny Internet cameras to shoot close-ups of these actions, their own bodies, and a dizzying array of trash props. (Like Rosenzweig and Le Maitre, they jealously guard their garbage collection and bring it to each performance; this can cause problems at international borders.) The performance is already quite heady even before images are projected, and even includes an olfactory dimension when they burn plastic or grind dessicated citrus fruit. The resulting images are synthesized and mixed live using the aforementioned low-end synthesizers and wedding video switchers. At the same time music is mixed and performed live using a digital audio sampler. Images are projected behind the performers, so the audience has the choice whether to watch the artists producing them (for example, with a camera millimeters away from a melting honey bear or inside someone’s mouth) or to gaze at the bear’s curvy pastel silhouette, mixed on-screen with an exercise video, while hearing a feedback loop of polkas.”
from “Live Video” by Laura U. Marks
in The End of Cinema as We Know it: American Film in the Nineties by Jon Lewis pp 312-313
Right Right Now Now on Vh1 Hip Hop Honors is one of my favorite TV performances with Beastie Boys, using my “Radio Shack” gear to make “artMag”.
As we enter the second month of the year, I’m looking back at some 2019 highlights and forward to 2020 visions.
Hauser & Wirth L.A.
2019 began with our sold-out Rue Bainbridge show at Hauser & Wirth L.A.—the closing event for the Calder: Nonspace exhibit.
Index Festival at Hepworth Wakefield Museum
In mid-2019, Index Festival presented Rue Bainbridge at Hepworth Wakefield UK.
In the Fall, Rue Bainbridge opened the new Pace Live space in New York with another sold-out show. At Pace Gallery, we premiered a new stage design, developed in residency at CultureHub in the summer.
Nam June Paik & Shigeko Kubota Video Art Prize
Also in 2019, Rue Bainbridge was awarded the inaugural Nam June Paik & Shigeko Kubota Video Art Prize. It is an honor to be selected by Director Norman Ballard and the Board for this award. The Foundation is involved in many activities including restoring Shigeko Kubota’s video sculptures, collaborating and staging exhibitions, and preserving the site of Paik and Kubota’s loft in SoHo.
2020 is off to a great start with the premiere of our latest artwork, Rue Bainbridge: Biome
Biome marks a departure for Rue Bainbridge: improvised sounds and images heavily layered in post-production yield a deep sonic space and light figures interacting in a dark field.
Overlapping rhythms form a vocabulary of shapes suggestive of organic life. Protozoa, free-living and parasitic. Primordial soup in a fishbowl. Tesla experiment gone awry, infinity donuts baked to oblivion. The dance of electricity. Bacteriophage tendrils in tiny sockets. A chirp-and-response with Brakhage’s Mothlight. The spineless levitation of a gloopy amoeba.
Drawn in the “blueberry blood” of a monochrome cathode ray tube, this sound and light drawing was created from feedback and human touch.
Rue Bainbridge in Roulette Mixology Festival
Rue Bainbridge perform in Mixology Festival at Roulette, Brooklyn on February 20, 2020. Curated by its founder, David Weinstein, Roulette’s 29th annual Mixology Festival is organized around the theme of psychedelia. Music and media performances revisit the virtues of visceral imagination in the form of enlightened vision, sonic illusions, and collective synesthesia. Moving beyond the clichés of drug culture, the Festival seeks to induce sustainable euphoria through a transformative groove. Roulette’s annual festival focuses on new and unusual uses of technology in music and media arts. The Festival has, since 1991, boldly embraced both the successes and struggles of gadgets in the service of innovation.
Curators José Iges and Manuel Olveira included Barbara Held / Benton C Bainbridge: Observatory / Lisa Joy in the show “El giro notacional (The Notational Turn)” at MUSAC (Museum de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León).
Observatory / Lisa Joy was first shown as part of “Escuchar con los ojos: Arte sonoro en España, 1961-2016”, a group exhibition of Spanish Sound Art from the past half century at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid in 2017.
Casiverde at La Place, Barcelona
Curator Mayssa Fattouh selected Benton C Bainbridge & Barbara Held’s video sculpture, Casiverde, for a 2019 exhibit at La Place in Barcelona.
Casiverde emerged from residency sessions at CultureHub for Pausa—an ongoing series of artworks and performances for flute, digital sound and analog video synth. Casiverde is realized as a 4-channel media artwork of analog-synthesized video with stereo acoustic and computer sound, presented as digital media “fingerprinted” via artHash.
Portrait of Barbara Held at CADAF | Miami Art Week
Bainbridge and Held premiered a new digital media artwork in CADAF at Miami Art Week. Portrait of Barbara Held is a single channel video portrait in which Held is both subject and co-creator. The Portrait was created at Andrew Freedman Home with flute, custom audio processing software and video synth.
Benton C Bainbridge
In 2019, I continued my series of CRT video sculptures that began the previous years with works like Lisa Joy, Casiverde and Life-Size Allyssa Jill. Two of these sculptures premiered during Miami Art Week at CADAF: Tiny Hands Big Tie and Building a Pyramid with Bare Hands. Tiny Hands is my attempt to understand how POTrumpUS hypnotizes us by live-processing two of his speeches at the same time. Pyramid is a collaboration with my fellow artists-in-residence at Andrew Freedman Home: Andre Trenier, Dr. Drum, Jennie West, Luze, Meguru Yamaguchi, and Tasha Dougé. Two other video sculptures, Fake Flag and Beauteous, premiered in the sold-out MoMA PS1 PopRally at Andrew Freedman Home.
Fake Flag, my 24 CRT video sculpture, will be included in an upcoming exhibition at peer to space. Details TBA…
Bainbridge on The Gift
2020 kicked off with a short documentary about me and my media art.
My commercial studio projection mapped Tao Downtown’s Quan Yin statue for The Weeknd camo-themed birthday party. For Halloween, Intersection Arts projection mapped two parties: Heidi Klum’s annual at Cathédrale and the second annual Union West blowout.
Sleepy Eyes is the first single off of the new Nalepa album Thoughtforms. Benton C Bainbridge has created a mesmerizing visual in counterpoint to the music, utilizing modular video synth prototypes from Dave Jones.
Together, the music and video evoke states of mind at the threshold of consciousness: subdued yet ecstatic. Bainbridge illuminates, “you know when there are clean sheets on the bed, the fresh air is gently blowing over you as the sheets lay lightly upon your body, and then you get a muted fuzzy buzzy happy feeling, as you start rolling down the path to dreamland? That’s what I hear in the music and the soporific aliveness I wanted to come across in the video.”
Sleepy Eyes premiered at the 2019 Abuja Art Week, presented by Naija Tech Creatives in an exhibition curated by Ihu Anyanwu in Abuja, Nigeria.
Benton C Bainbridge creates media art, collaborating with a wide range of artists, including Beastie Boys (as their VJ) and TV On The Radio (video synth FX for the “Staring at the Sun” video). Currently, the AV duo Rue Bainbridge is performing in London, NYC and L.A. with singing saw, modular synths and a hacked game console. Bainbridge was the resident media artist for 11 seasons of One Step Beyond at American Museum of Natural History. Benton is Artist in Residence at Andrew Freedman Home, where he recently showed video sculptures and moving paintings with the sold-out, immersive MoMA PopRally co-production, Beauteous.
Californian polymath Steve Nalepa is known for his vast and eclectic array of artistic collaborators, a key node in the electronic music scene cultivated through years of creating music and producing events. He releases music and tours with his bands The Acid (Infectious/Mute) and Airspace (Mute). Nalepa is a founding member of esteemed beat collective TeamSupreme, he has published award-winning art books through the self-launched Dilettante Press, scored several feature-length documentary films and devised/engineered Ableton Live rigs for such acts as Blood Orange, Nick Murphy, Drake and The Weeknd.
The pair have previously collaborated on videos for Flatlands (2007) and Daytime (2012).
Rue Bainbridge: improvised light drawings and music at the new Pace building in Chelsea, NYC.
On the occasion of the exhibition, Calder: Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere, Pace Gallery hosts a performance by Rue Bainbridge. Rue Bainbridge will premiere a new staging in which the duo is immersed in their improvised audiovisuals; this design was developed within the CultureHub NYC Residency Program.
This event has SOLD OUT!
I ____ America and America ____ Me
Exhibition on View: October 19 – November 16, 2019
Reception: Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 6 – 8 pm
SVA MFA Computer Arts
133 West 21 Street, NYC
My media artwork AImurica is an abstract video sculpture made with analog synthesizers. The work captures my mood these days; I love the idea of my country, though I feel like I barely comprehend the reality as so many Americans are cheering the greedy usurpers who wish to transform this nation into a fascist oligarchy governed by algorithms.
My sound art is part of an outdoor installation curated by OptoSonic Tea and Corinne Erni.
Standing outside the Tate Modern, I recorded a monolog for this 8-channel continuous sound installation positioned at the exterior of the Parrish Museum’s north entrance.
OptoSonic Echoes is an 8-channel continuous sound installation positioned at the exterior of the Museum’s north entrance, containing the voices and sounds of participants in the September 27 performance, OptoSonic Tea @ the Parrish, an evening-length group improvisation featuring some of the world’s most innovative video and sound artists.
Artists: Benton C Bainbridge, Marcia Bassett, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Kit Fitzgerald, Andy Guhl, Shelley Hirsch, CHiKA, Chris Jordan (cj), Katherine Liberovskaya, LoVid, Laura Ortman, Ursula Scherrer, Emma Souharce, Shane Weeks.
The opening of Alice Mizrachi’s immersive installation at AFH is the last day to catch my large scale multichannel video sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art / Andrew Freedman Home Beauteous exhibition.
If you missed the Beauteous PopRally, BronxNet captured the theatrical media spectacle:
Beauteous is a site-specific, immersive theatrical takeover of the halls of Andrew Freedman Home. My media art will be featured, including video sculptures, interactive installations and AV performance.
Beauteous is a dystopic imagining of our near future that explores issues around perception, community branding, and the dynamics of hype. This post-apocalyptic science fiction tale incorporates narratives of LGBTQ subculture and hip-hop to extrapolate the cultural evolution of the Bronx into a probable future where we don’t change our present headlong dash to disaster. Guests will experience theatrical vignettes, musical performances, and art installations set amidst the faded glamor of a Gilded Age mansion located on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.
The evening will commence with food and music in the garden and culminate on the mansion’s rooftop with a dance party hosted by Pauli Cakes & DJ She Marley Marl, featuring DJ sets by Bronx natives. Dance the night away to the sounds of BRUJAS and friends with DaDa Coz and gnarianna, DJ Red Alert, and Grandmaster Caz.
My media artwork collaborative installation with Barbara Held has been generating ever-changing light drawings and sound all year long, but all good things must move along to the next show. There’s just a few weeks left to catch this wide ranging group exhibition presenting experimental scores.
My sound art is part of an outdoor installation presented by OptoSonic Tea and Corinne Erni.
Standing outside the Tate Modern, I recorded a monolog for this 8-channel continuous sound installation positioned at the exterior of the Parrish Museum’s north entrance.
Participating artists: Benton C Bainbridge, Marcia Bassett, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Kit Fitzgerald, Andy Guhl, Shelley Hirsch, Chika Iijima, Chris Jordan (cj), Katherine Liberovskaya, LoVid, Laura Ortman, Ursula Scherrer, Michael J. Schumacher, Emma Souharce, Shane Weeks
In late September, I’ll join 18 other artists to present an audiovisual installation/performance, dispersed amongst the galleries of the Museum.
VISUAL ARTISTS: Benton C Bainbridge, Bradley Eros, Andy Guhl, Kit Fitzgerald, Asi Föcker, CHiKA, Chris Jordan (cj), Katherine Liberovskaya, LoVid (Kyle Lapidus and Tali Hinkins), and Ursula Scherrer. SOUND ARTISTS: Marcia Bassett, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Shelley Hirsch, Laura Ortman, Emma Souharce, Michael J. Schumacher, Keiko Uenishi, and Shane Weeks.
Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Bainbridge, my latest collaborative, formed this Fall when Yelaine Rodriguez brought Melanie Gonzalez and myself together to explore the intersection of wearable, performance and media art. We joined Yelaine for her exhibitions portraying the Haitian loa at Wave Hill and Longwood Gallery in the Bronx; since then, our trio has been making video paintings in Singular Editions and time-based works in site-specific installations.
Many of us will remember 2018 as the year when Decentralized Art gained global attention, just as cryptocurrencies plummeted from 2017’s heights. I joined the conversations in Jessica Angel’s #ArtProject Decentralized, AOTB and Ethereal Summit and released many solo and collaborative media artworks with decentralized provenance, including Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Bainbridge: Ezili Dantor presented by Andrew Freedman Home at Miami Art Week, Art | Basel.
Rue Bainbridge performed in NYC and London, including an unforgettable night in the abandoned Averard Hotel. Our duo kicks off 2019 with an audiovisual improvisation for the closing of Calder: Nonspace at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles on January 5. Seating is limited, free tickets here!photos: Christoph Trestler, Henri Kisielewski
Flutist / sound artist Barbara Held and I presented Pausa as a multi-channel AV installation and a real-time media performance at l’Auditori Barcelona for Sampler Series. In 2019, Bainbridge Held will contribute a generative video and music artwork to a 9 month long sound art exhibition at MUSAC in Leon, Spain.
In 2018, American Museum of Natural History concluded the 11th season of One Step Beyond. The series is now on hiatus. As the resident media artist of this late-night monthly event I curated, designed and co-created immersive visuals throughout the Hall of the Universe for all eleven years of #OneStepBeyond. Musical guests included Moby, Kanye West, Kid Sister, A-Trak, Scissor Sisters, Dirty Projectors, Freedom Party, Questlove, Chromeo, Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, DJ Khaled, Toro Y Moi, Felix Da Housecat, TOKiMONSTA, and Dan Deacon.
Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Bainbridge present a site-specific media art installation for the finissage of the group exhibition *Swing Forward While Swaying Back*
Maman Brigitte (portrayed by Gina Goico) will come alive in a projected environment of translucent fabrics. The performance is inspired by a quote by cultural theorist Stuart Hall which comments on a new Black culture created from The New World. Concentrated in Haitian and Dominican roots and traditions, this performance looks at Maman Brigitte, who guards spirits in transition from life to death.
Maman Brigitte is from an ongoing series which celebrates the loa in costume, dance and events. Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Bainbridge make mixed media, installations, and performances at the intersection of wearable art, performance art, and media art. Conceptual design/sculpture by Yelaine Rodriguez, live video projection visuals by Melanie Gonzalez, and media design by Benton C Bainbridge.
*Swing Forward While Swaying Back*
Six Bronx artists (Alicia Grullon, Blanka Amezkua, Fran Ilich, Francheska Alcantara, Walter Cruz, Yelaine Rodriguez) envision alternate futures through collaborative installations that provocatively and poetically challenge their audiences. Each project simultaneously draws on rich and varied art, activist, and cultural histories to search for something beyond itself – whether in relation to economies of generosity and exchange, practical information about immigration rights, or complex conversations about cultural heritage. Curated by Amanda McDonald Crowley.
Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Bainbridge will premiere Ezili Dantor, a digital video portrait of the Haitian loa. Andrew Freedman Home Director Walter Puryear will present four works by AFH Artists in Residence (Bainbridge, as well as Natalie Collette Wood, Meguru Yamaguchi, Noté Peter George) and speak on the Digital Art & Collectibles Panel in this conference presented by Light Node Media for Miami Art Week.
This group exhibition highlighting artists who have shown at North of History includes Andrew Freedman Home Artists in Residence Jennie West, Gabe Aiello, Cannon Hersey, Alice Mizrachi, Natalie Collette Wood, and Noté Peter George. Benton C Bainbridge premieres a new multi-channel video sculpture, Life-Size Allyssa Jill, and projects a series of video portraits.
Years in the making, Benton C Bainbridge‘s utterly bizarre video for Gryphon Rue‘s AI-phobic poem set to an electronic folk tune has been released by Tiger Sushi Records. Featuring Gryphon with Dean Wareham and Christine Sun Kim along with a children’s chorus, all fed through a labyrinthian system of old-school and newfangled image processing tools.
This month has been busy, so here’s my second update of the summer.
Gryphon Rue and Benton C Bainbridge: Google Portrait (BUBBLES 1c Mercury Dean Wareham), 2018 (detail)
Google Portrait—a new series of video paintings by New York-based artists Benton C Bainbridge and Gryphon Rue—will be presented by Jessica Angel for #ArtProject Decentralized at Distributed 2018 conference for the global blockchain community in San Francisco, 19-20 July, 2018. The Google Portrait series is compiled from a music video of the same name featuring Rue, the legendary songwriter Dean Wareham, and members of a children’s chorus. The digital artworks are substantiated with decentralized provenance, each offered in a Singular Edition fingerprinted via artHash.
Benton C Bainbridge: Lisa Joy 18, 2016 (WIP installation view)
This multichannel installation pairs documentation of my 2016 lissajous performance with displays of the light drawings. My media artwork is shown alongside works by Natalie Collette Wood (my fellow Andrew Freedman Home Artist-in-Residence,) John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres (sculptors featured in The Met Breuer “Like-Life” exhibition,) and other Bx200 artists.
I will conduct a remote artHash workshop. artHash is a free, open-source system for digital artists to publish unique fingerprints of their work. artHash is co-designed by myself and Tom Swirly. Attend in person or join the Hangout
Beth McCarthy interviews Benton C Bainbridge at Starfish Mission