Thirty Days of Running in Place \ Ahmed Basiony (2011)
Ahmed Basiony was one of the few contemporary artists in Egypt who was consistently experimenting with the tools of new media. One of his works, Thirty Days of Running in Place (2010) reveals Basiony jogging daily of one hour while a suit of electronic sensors picked up how far he ran and how much sweat he produced. Visualised by computer and projected onto a large screen, the data formed an abstracted portrait of a body not just in motion by changing physiologically under the influence of exercise. The piece is all the more poignant as it contains the last echoes of Basiony’s life in the form of data he collected: the artist was killed during the Egyptian uprising just a few months later.
In light of this, AND and FACT were proud to begin considering the legacy of this unqiue artist with the UK premiere of Thirty Days of Running in Place. Coinciding with Rewrie, the fourth international conference of media art histories, the exhibition was an opportunity to examine new media outside the conventionally Westernised axis of thought and in the Arab world in particular.
Ahmed Basiony graduated from the Faculty of Art Education at Helwan University in the year 2000, where he then worked as an assistant teacher in the department of drawing and painting. After acquiring his master’s degree in Creative Potential of Digital Sound Art, he was working on his PhD Thesis on The Visual Aspect of Open Source Programming in relation to the concepts of digital art.
He is considered one of the most important artists of the new generation of contemporary Egyptian artists. His practice varied greatly and evolved rapidly. His early large-scale expressionistic paintings won him the first prize in painting in the 2001 Salon of Youth. Then his work took a turn in a more experimental direction involving new media and multimedia installations between the years 2001 and 2005.
Basiony focused his academic study on digital sound art during the preparation of his master’s thesis between the years 2002 and 2006. At the same time, he started organizing the independent experimental workshop for digital sound art at the faculty of Art Education at Helwan University in 2006, as one of the experimental workshops for media and creativity supervised by the artist Dr. Shady El Noshokaty. Basiony had already started participating in 2000, when he still was a student.