Darrin Martin

Artist Statement


Sound Bits, Love Bytes and Rhetoric as Practice

For the opportunity to publish my personal artist statement, I decided it was high time I started from scratch. The one I've been kicking around for years changed often, but for the most part it cannibalized versions as far back as seven years ago. Considering the context of this publication, I must admit there are times that I don't feel particularly "new media?. Knowing a little lingo, a little java, a little Max/MSP/Jitter but really not "knowing" any of it, I have reverse engineered my way through projects, as I watch some programs grow while others wither into obsolescence. In recent years, I've retreated back to good old-fashioned video, sculpture and print. It's a state I'm in, and besides, scripting languages seem to come, go, and mutate, and I can't make up my mind which to hold onto. I think I'll continue to work on English and maybe someday that ASL class I've wanted to take for years.

Simultaneously, I feel very "new media." In one ear I have a small hearing device that contains "artificial intelligence", which in this case means it has the ability to grasp onto the loudest sound around from any direction. The other ear is strictly ornamental. Inside it is a ringing death but behind it is a screw embedded into my skull that mounts a small amplifier. This amplifier carries vibration through my head to my healthy inner ear on the opposite side. It does a lot for me.

Lately, for my art, I've been subjecting myself to scientific experimentation (if you know of any that I can get involved in, let me know). Sometimes this experimentation has to do with my negotiated senses and sometimes they don't, at least not intentionally. I've become more interested in the subject of technology than the act of manipulating it. VR platforms and surround sound are partners in the desire to fully mediate an electronic form of reality. Their normative model is usually the optimal sensing subject. What can we learn from creating platforms based on the less than "perfect"? I'm as interested in a CAVE for the blind as I am eager for surround sound for the monaural. For me, immersive environments are like sex with a stranger. Exciting, exhilarating, and dangerous, but ultimately leaving you a little empty inside, unless, of course, it was really good, but then you want more and strangers quickly become something else.

When I'm not thinking in spirals, I'm improvising with another artist, Torsten Zenas Burns. He helps me get out of my head and interact with another flesh and blood. We've been making work for a number of years on alternative educational paradigms based on various speculative practices in the human sciences. We are currently conducting role-playing workshops for our next video, where performers can either be obscure Marvel superheroes, the Vision or the Scarlet Witch, or renowned art personalities, Orlan or Stelarc.

Darrin Martin Bio

Darrin Martin's videos and performances have been exhibited internationally at festivals and museums including the Museum of Modern Art, Pacific Film Archive, and the European Media Art Festival in Germany. His installations have been exhibited at venues such as The Kitchen and WRO Media Arts Biennale in Poland. He frequently collaborates with Torsten Zenas Burns. Their art works have been screened and exhibited at venues including The Oberhausen Short Film Festival, The New York Video Festival, Cinematexas, The Madrid Museum of Contemporary Art, and Eyebeam. They have also launched a net-art project, Lesson Stalls: learning net, which was commissioned by Electronic Arts Intermix.