Adam Basanta

Carroll / Fletcher
56 - 57 Eastcastle Street
November 27, 2015–January 30, 2016

Adam Basanta, The Loudest Sound in the Room Experienced Very Quietly, 2015, microphone, speaker cone, amplifier, sound-level meter, acrylic, dimensions variable.

In the downstairs area of this gallery are three new feedback-inflected sound pieces by the artist and experimental composer Adam Basanta. The first work encountered is The Loudest Sound in the Room Experienced Very Quietly, 2015. It features a set of electrical components housed within a clear acrylic box. A microphone is directed toward a speaker cone, and between the two are an amplifier and a sound-level meter, the arrow of which points beyond an ear-splitting 110 decibels. What should roar like a chainsaw or a thunderclap is almost entirely muffled out, with the occasional high-pitched note escaping here and there into the outside world. Another work, A Room Listening to Itself, 2015, is composed of eight microphones and mismatched speaker cones hanging at various levels from plastic wire. Distant drones and calls can be heard prior to entering this installation, which beckon the listener into something unknown, mysterious. Traveling through Basanta’s aural arrangements is mesmerizing—the reverberating pitches and sounds get disturbed as visitors attempt to navigate the room. The gentle whine, like the sound of the tip of a finger circling the rim of a glass, seems to pour out of the walls. There is a nervous energy trapped within the space.

The visual quality of Basanta’s work cannot be ignored—his seemingly makeshift installations are in fact meticulously executed. And though audio feedback is usually accidental, unexpected, or embarrassing, the artist succeeds in exploiting this unruly modern-day phenomenon as an immersive, disorienting, and under-the-skin medium.

Grace Beaumont