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Surround Sound Gets Serious

By Rhizome

Minneapolis-based artist Abinadi Meza has been making a name for himself, both in the US and abroad, for his engaging new media art practice. Sound plays a significant role in his body of work, as demonstrated by one of his most acclaimed projects, 'The Burning Question' (2004). In a gallery setting, several computers were loaded with multiple tunes--contributed by other artists under a free license--that visitors were asked to burn onto a CD, thus forming playlists that were then transmitted over a 24 hour-Internet radio broadcast while the exhibition was on view. Meza also examines the intertwinement between sound and space, as revealed by '360 Degrees Concerts' (2006), in which he manipulated audio recordings of a show preparation at Minneapolis' Walker Art Center to create an immersive sonic environment presented in a 360-degree spatial pattern around a spiral-shaped Rirkrit Tiravanija installation. Using Ipods, Meza is now developing projects that maintain his exploration of sound properties while also addressing the pertinent issues of contemporary society. For example, in 'From the New War Offices,' featured last January at London's Fieldgate Gallery, he addresses England, in general, and the relation of the British and American peoples, in particular. Parodying propaganda-style imagery, Meza combined a silent film of the 1920s with an electronic soundtrack that 'attaches ominous techno-synth to this portrait of a fading Empire.' Continuing to surprise a growing audience with his elaborate, vibrant experiments, Meza is one of the best representatives of the new generation of artists for which sound is a preferred medium. - Miguel Amado

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