Rue Bainbridge, the duo of Gryphon Rue and Benton C Bainbridge, exists in the intersection of expanded cinema and sonic art. Generating electric calligraphy with a hacked game console, the light patterns become a score, with visual rhythmicity suggesting electro-acoustic events. Perception shifts as light and sound momentarily synchronize, tracing a zone of concentrated intricacy.
Coaxing voltages into waves of dynamic energy, the duo improvise a space for collective dreaming, where quirks of human hand and electricity spawn impressions of nature and asemic writing. Pure and synthesized tones cast an aura of suspended disbelief—ethereal pictures emerge from the earth-bound instruments: elemental scenes, avalanches in wintry landscapes, rocks careening down a mountainside.
Through the inducement of hypnotic states, Rue Bainbridge create “high touch” work in subversion of techno-logic; retrieving the primacy of intimate experience over the alienation of mediated, distant connections. Eschewing the convenience of digital recall, each performance interweaves the sharpening of perception with pleasureful immersion.
Rue Bainbridge is the first recipient of the Nam June Paik and Shigeko Kubota Video Art prize (2019). The project has been supported with residencies at spaces in transition: an Italianate palazzo that housed destitute millionaires, an abandoned 18th century hotel favored by rock stars, and an officer’s house on a former military island. Rue Bainbridge have been presented by Roulette Intermedium, Pace Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, The Hepworth Wakefield, Slate Projects / Foreign Domestic, Center for Visual Music, Public Works at Governor’s Island, Andrew Freedman Home, and Shigeko Kubota Video Art Foundation. Projects are realized as immersive audiovisual performances, yielding single-channel artworks with decentralized provenance. Rue Bainbridge is supported by Andrew Freedman Home Artist-In-Residence program in The Bronx, NYC
Individually, Rue Bainbridge have presented on 5 continents, at Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, Museum of the Moving Image, American Museum of Natural History, The Kitchen (NYC), Frieze Art Fair (NYC), EMPAC (Troy, NY), SFMoMA (San Francisco), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX), Boston Cyberarts Festival, l’Auditori (Barcelona), Fundación Juan March (Madrid), LUX2006 (Sevilla), Auditorium Parco della Musica (Roma), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), Teatro Colón CETC (Buenos Aires), International Horticultural Expo (Xi’an, China), Dak’art Biennale (Dakar, Senegal), and MTV Networks (global).
In the throes of winter 2021, Rue Bainbridge met in person to work together for the first time since their pre-pandemic performance at Roulette Intermedium; a one-year-to-the-day hiatus. The artists occupied an abandoned restaurant in Tribeca, NYC. A lack of heat forced the artists to work in the mechanical room, caked with dust and rattled by street traffic overhead. In preparation for broadcast, they divided the space with a large scrim and installed a bespoke feedback system, using cathode-ray tubes as furniture, showing live feeds of the artists playing their modified instruments while bathing in sound and light. The work premiered as Wintering for de Young Museum in San Francisco.
In response to the pandemic, Rue Bainbridge developed a network project for the New Media Art & Sound Summit: I’ll Wear a Mask for You, an existential media-opera. I’ll Wear a Mask for You brings together experiences and sensations from disparate moments of American life in 2020. Generated during quarantine and an urgent road trip, the opera manipulates material captured under conditions of vivid adjustments and articulated anxieties. In response to the radical constriction of our physical worlds and our forced emigration into the Metaverse, the network performance dramatizes the symbolic resonances and politicization of masks.
On July 25, New Media Art & Sound Summit and Experimental Sound Studio present the world premiere of Rue Bainbridge: I’ll Wear a Mask for You… karaoke in an iron lung… a humorous mosaic dredged from our collective mindscape… pantomiming intimacy, global and emotional corruption.
Visit https://nmassfest.org/rue-bainbridge/ for details.