The main concerns of Adam Leech’s work are the semantics of voice versus speech and the political engineering of public space and community. This ranges from his portrait of gated communities in Florida to a sociological analysis of the immigrant population of Brussels, Illinois. Leech’s project for Manifesta 7, Speech Bubble , began as an investigation into the bankruptcy of the Belgian high-tech speech recognition company, Lernout & Hauspie. Like other multinational corporations, Lernout & Hauspie was a visionary company where money, techno-utopias and the cult of the entrepreneurial personality helped to create a now ubiquitous “market bubble.” In 2001, it burst. Speech Bubble is a short dialogue between an unemployed salesman and his lover, Magdalena, who seems to be the futuristic product of artificial intelligence. Magdalena and the salesman reminisce on the times before their company went bankrupt. Their memories are cast adrift in corporate nostalgia, economic strategy and romantic love. Leech’s paintings, presented in conjunction with the video, tend to replace the overt narrative of the moving images with a more reflective and silent condition. Presented with cool and laconic temperament, Leech’s paintings seem to absorb critical distance, then sublimate it into a language of neuroses, fantasy and play.
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