Since 1978, James Elaine and William Basinski have worked together closely, creating some of the most visually poetic and aurally arresting installation and theatrical experiences. Using original compositions, found sound, tape loops, and delay devices, Basinski’s experimental music compositions provide a brilliant accompaniment to Elaine’s fragmented and painterly moving images recorded using super-8 video. By using obsolete technology and analogue tape loops, Basinki and Elaine explore the temporal nature of life, the reverberations of memory, and the mystery of time. The result of their collaboration provides a melancholic meditation on the passing of time and the decay that remains in its wake.
Basinski is a classically trained musician and composer who has worked with experimental media for over 30 years. His discography includes Shortwave Music (1983); Watermusic (2001); Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive (2004); and the acclaimed The Disintegration Loops (2002-03), a four-volume album that was rereleased as a 9xLP box set in 2012 to commemorate its 10th anniversary. His most recent recording, Nocturnes, is his first solo recording in four years andis comprised of two extended ethereal soundscapes. The title track was written during his post-grad studies period in San Francisco (1979-80), while the second track was recorded 20 years later for the Robert Wilson opera The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, which premiered at the Manchester International Festival July 2011 and toured Europe in 2012. Basinski was born in Houston, and studied jazz, saxophone, and composition at North Texas State University. He now lives and works in Los Angeles.
Elaine formally trained as a painter and later began experimenting with video. While he has worked as an artist for more than three decades, he is equally celebrated as a visionary curator who has discovered and championed many of the greatest artists of our times when they were just emerging. He worked as a curator at the Drawing Center in New York and later at the Hammer Museum at the University of Los Angeles before relocating to China. Most recently, Elaine curated the exhibition Unfinished Country: New Video from China at the CAMH (2012). He now lives and works in Beijing, China.
Basinski and Elaine have produced numerous works together including Trailer for 1000 Films (1998); Fountain (2000) with Roger Justice; Melancholia (2003); and Blueprints on a Winter Pond (2006), among others.
This performance by Basinksi and Elaine is one in a two-part performance series by CAMH being held in the Brown Foundation Gallery. Ellen Fullman will present a performance on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19.
Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for the Future is made possible by generous grants from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Anonymous, Jereann Chaney, Sara Paschall Dodd, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, Marley Lott, Leticia Loya, F