• Jani Ruscica
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Jani Ruscica


Uudenmaankatu 22.8.-2.9.2007

Jani Ruscica
Five Variations On A Theme
Galleria Huuto Uudenmaankatu

Jani Ruscica’s (1978) two new experimental short films Batbox / Beatbox reveal the limitations of human sight both in nature and in a cultural context. Batbox / Beatbox parallels two very opposed environments: nature depicted through bats’ nightly echolocation and the urban metropolis navigated by hip-hop artists. The dialogue between the two short films is skillfully realised on a structural, aural and contextual level. 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.

Ruscica has realised Batbox in collaboration with bat bioacoustics researcher Jon Flanders from Bristol University in England. The leading roles in Beatbox are played by New York beatboxers Kid Lucky and Shockwave as well as Spoken Word artist Vocab. 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 spotlight used to highlight the suburban streets, basketball courts and subway tracks in Beatbox reveals the urban space a stage, where in the words of Vocab every street corner and fallen cigarette has the ability to tell a thousand stories.

As in Ruscica’s previous films, the Contrapuntal themes, the new films have also been created in a process of dialogue. Just as the bats in Batbox, the beatboxers in Beatbox have improvised for the film an aural interpretation of their environment, their habitat. Called the fifth element of hip-hop, beatboxing was created in the South Bronx in the late seventies. 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 Vocab and the beatboxers. Artistic collaboration became central, the idea of creating together. We borrow and create again, the process becomes multilayered, thus creating a cultural continuum and new social spaces

Ruscica presents in his exhibition five variations on the theme at Gallery Huuto. Beatboxing was created as the fifth element of hip hop. Besides the short films Ruscica presents a series of six intimate portrait photographs. The portraits reinforce the idea of presenting the hip hop artists as individuals without the context of their subculture. On a table supported by a sawbuck one can see photocopies of beatboxers’ neighbourhoods in New York as well as of bats’ habitat in Dorset, interlacing into a collage. Musician Aarne Riikonen further develops the cultural and creative process by notating a duet for greater horseshoe bat and beatboxer recorded while making the films. The duet will be performed at the opening of the exhibition. The notation of the duet is exhibited on a music stand. The exhibition reflects on cultural processes, and on different ways to comprehend one’s living environment as well as on the aim to see without prejudice.

Marita Muukkonen

Alongside the exhibition in Galleria Huuto Jani Ruscica presents the shortfilm Beatbox, alternate take as an installation in the Kunsthalle Studio in Helsinki 18.8 – 16.9.2007. Sound and music have also played a central role in Jani Ruscica’s previous video works (Swan Song, Contrapuntal). Jani Ruscica 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 Academy of Fine Arts. Ruscica has also 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.

Contact information: 040 708 5361 and jani.ruscica(at)gmail.com