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29 February, 2008
Jani Ruscica: ”Batbox / Beatbox”
Batbox / Beatbox by Jani Ruscica is a work consisting of two experimental short films. Batbox / Beatbox reveals the limitations of human sight both in nature and in a cultural context. This work parallels two very opposed environments: nature depicted through bats’ nightly echolocation and the urban metropolis navigated by hip-hop artists.
“The films focus on two different ways to use sound and movement as tools to navigate and identify one’s environment. In Batbox sound and movement is portrayed as a biological phenomenon, in Beatbox as a cultural one. The dialogue between the two short films is skilfully realised on a structural, aural and contextual level”, says curator Marita Muukkonen from FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange.
Ruscica has realised Batbox in collaboration with bat bioacoustics researcher Jon Flanders from Bristol University in England. Shot in a bat research laboratory and at night-time in the woodlands in Dorset, Batbox is a poetic depiction of bats’ capacity to use sound as a tool to locate themselves geographically. The searchlight used in the dark woods reveals human’s inability to see.
The leading roles in Beatbox are played by New York beatboxers Kid Lucky and Shockwave as well as Spoken Word artist Vocab. The spotlight used to highlight the suburban streets, basketball courts and subway tracks reveals the urban space a stage. Beatboxing is often called the fifth element of hip-hop; it was created in the South Bronx in the late 1970’s. With the lack of instruments and decks hip-hoppers started to emulate the sound of turntables, beats and drums with their voice. In the process Ruscica gave free rein to the beatboxers. Artistic collaboration and dialogue became central, the idea of creating together.
The work reflects on cultural processes, and on different ways to comprehend one’s living environment as well as on the aim to see without prejudice.
Jani Ruscica (b. 1978, Savonlinna, Finland) has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London and is currently finishing his Master of Arts (Art and Design) degree at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Ruscica has worked as artist-in-residence in New York, Amsterdam and the Faroe Islands, and his video works have been exhibited in various international exhibitions, for example in London, Copenhagen, Berlin, St Petersburg, Barcelona and New York
Batbox / Beatbox will be on show at the Digital & Video Art Fair, The Streets in one of the twenty shipping containers brought to the gallery district in West Chelsea, New York for this event, from March 25 to March 30, 2008 with a preview on Saturday March 22, 2008 from 4 pm to 8 pm.
Batbox / Beatbox is being organized in collaboration with FRAME Finnish Fund for Art Exchange and the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York.