Aaron David Ross
Museum of Arts and Design; New York, NY

Photo: Katerina Llanes, Manager of Public Programs at MAD

Shortly after the triumphant release of ADR’s Deceptionista on PAN, the Museum of Arts and Design presented the live U.S. premiere of the audiovisual project as part of its new performance series RADIAL. Although Deceptionista used happenstance, cloud-sourced Vines™ from VPeeker™ as a compositional tool, their presentation live clearly demonstrated their role as the entire conceptual headspace of the project — a psychedelic meditation on abundance, a radical desensitization of affect across the spectrum of vulgarity, hilarity, and raw cultural absurdity.

Before the performance began, the audience was treated to an incessant blast of Vines™ randomly presented through the Vpeeker™ app. Functioning as a sort of episodic ‘crowd-warming’ phase, the pre-performance atmosphere did well to confrontationally address the role of the video-clip in modern humor and attention-deficit. Everything from dub-step bellowing, to classic “meme-skit” moments, to solo cock-rubbing sessions were shown bare, and with enough audacity, as to render any pre-performance conversation mute; the audience’s attention was consistently re-attuned to the nihilist drivel of cloud-humor and social incongruity.

The performance itself began with ADR “playing” the looping mechanism by extending the sonic space of each sound-byte through repetitive assaults of granulation and reverberation. Blasts of rhythm and sub-bass supported the atmospheric chaos emitting from the randomized environments — as the videos themselves came across like a wild, Mingus-like brass section wavering dissonantly over deep timpani. This improvisatory use of the randomized clips came closest to revealing the raw potential of the cloud as the ultimate sound library.

Shortly after the first performative “movement,” the concert shifted to a live presentation of the album alongside a synchronized exploration of Deceptionista’s game-like, immersive ecosystem. There aren’t enough opportunities to hear fantastic records loud in a contained space; there are less opportunities for such experiences to happen alongside a harmonized visual experience. The gallery-like presentation of the actual “content” of Deceptionista was nothing short of breathtaking — polygonal shapes morphed and bloomed to the apparitions of Vines mapped to wild, fragmented forms. The effect was wholly synesthetic, and formal enough to hear/see the project how it was meant to be heard/seen. If ADR at all sought demonstrate “a machine outputting the inherent, deceptive wilderness of communication,” he fully succeeded. The performance was a gorgeous, psychedelic manipulation of form that dramatized the entirety of our cultural breakdown.

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