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Ahmed Basiony, Thirty Days Running in the Place, 2011. Photo by Stephen King.  

Thirty Days Running in the Place (2010)

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 Running in the Place (2010) reveals Basiony jogging daily for one hour while wearing a suit of electronic sensors that picked up how far he ran and how much sweat he produced. Visualised by a computer and projected onto a large screen, the data formed an abstract portrait of a body not just in motion, but 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 the data he collected: the artist was killed during the Egyptian uprising just a few months later.

In light of this, we are proud to begin considering the legacy of this researcher and artist with the UK premiere of Thirty Days Running in the Place. At FACT, the work is presented alongside documentary footage filmed by the artist in Cairo's Tahrir square in the lead up to his murder. The footage from the square, it is believed, formed part of a second performance that the artist had prepared to present. The intimacy of these haphazard images, coupled with the physiological apparatus from Thirty Days Running in the Place, evidences the artist's belief in art functioning as a primal mechanisation of the self. Together they offer a dissident view from the dominant representation of the state-run mass media - encouraging Egyptian audiences to halt their 'suspension of disbelief'.

This presentation is a unique opportunity to examine digital art practices outside the conventionally Westernised axis of thought, and is an invitation to examine new media art discourses in the Arab world.