Hadi Bastani is a sound artist, composer, and anthropologist interested in the impact of sound and digital technologies on the formation of new modes of practice, thinking, and sociality.
As an artist, his practice engages with field recording, digital signal processing, and spatiality in the context of immersive compositions, performances, and installations. His work has been presented in academic and non-academic festivals such as the Sonorities 2018 at Queen’s University Belfast, TADAEX 2018 in Tehran, and IKLECTIC Art Lab 2018, London.
His academic profile involves an interdisciplinary and practice-led investigation of the recent digital arts and experimental electronic music practices in Iran. He has presented in conferences around the world—for instance in British Forum for Ethnomusicology and Société Française d'Ethnomusicologie’s 2019 joint Autumn conference in City University London, and the International Conference on Live Interfaces (ICLI) 2018 in Porto.
Beside his academic and artistic works, he has been active as a record artist, releasing through Zabte Sote, Flaming Pines, and Unexplained Sound Group, as a radio producer making programmes for the BBC (Persian radio) and Resonance FM, and a music blogger.
Recent Experimental Electronic Music Practices in Iran:
An Ethnographic and Sound-Based Investigation
PhD submitted in August 2019 to Queen’s University Belfast – Sonic Arts Research Centre
The aim of this interdisciplinary (Sonic Arts and Anthropology) and practice-led (thesis plus portfolio) project was to identify and locate an experimental electronic music ‘scene’ in Iran within a web of historical-social-political-religious-economic-technological agencies. Drawing from the growing traditions of digital ethnography and artistic research, this project documented and analysed the processes, aesthetics, and practices that shaped the ‘scene’, while exploring and feeding back to those through sound-based practice. In setting ethnographic study and artistic practice in action within a mutually-interpenetrating loop, this work suggests a context for further anthropological and/or (ethno-)musicological inquiry that incorporates (collaborative) music- and/or art-making as a beneficial and rigorous research methodology.
Digital ethnography—online fieldwork, field-recording, and more than 40 one-to-one interviews—as well as individual and collaborative composition, installations, and collaborative performances were the main strategies applied to investigate the subject matter. The outcome was, therefore, presented in the form of a portfolio of original works along with a thesis that was produced to contextualise the project’s concurrently theoretical and practical engagement with and investigation of the case at hand. These two were mutually supportive and intertwined, in that the former consisted both of practice which formed part of the ‘object of study’ of the ethnographic work and practice which formed part of the ‘method of study’, taking the form of both critique and collaboration/provocation/intervention. The text was simultaneously a piece of ethnographic fieldwork, an autobiographical reflection, and practice-led commentary, which positioned the author’s work within the wider network of practice of experimental electronic music in Iran. There was therefore a congruity between the technology used to make the work, that used to disseminate it, that which ‘constructed’ the ‘community’ of practice, and that which enabled study of the ‘scene’. To date no scholarly work has been done on the subject matter in any shape or form.
Experimental Electronic Sound as Playful Articulation of a Compromised Sociality in Iran
aphasic (recollection) / graiin (abstraction), 2015
Video produced by Hadi Bastani and Ardeshir Abdolrahimi, Edited by Ardeshir Abdolrahimi.
Presented at the Sonic Lab in Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen's University Belfast
Presented as part of the Umbrella collective's group show at Sonorities Festival 2018
As an experiment with the producer's Instagram archive, #neversame is a meditation on the experience of sound and place through social media.