Exhibitions

One of the Things That Makes Me Doubt

0 Comments 21 July 2013

The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art is presenting the first-ever Australian survey of works by British-based American artist Daria Martin. SASKIA DAVEY visited the sensorium of Martin’s magical, mystical, mythical film worlds.

One Of The Things That Makes Me Doubt … well I can certainly think of a few, but at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art we discover, through Daria Martin’s cinematography, that doubt doesn’t always carry its usual negative connotations.

In each film featured, Martin encourages the audience to allow their sense of doubt to influence the way in which they view her artwork. Without specific direction or clear-cut story lines, the films challenge people to overcome their fear of the unknown and unfamiliar, in order to draw from them a truly personal interpretation of each scenario.

Through unconventional filming tactics, as well as outlandish costumes and transcendental scenery, Martin creates the effect of a surreal atmosphere, whilst successfully balancing it with reality by drawing upon everyday experiences and settings. By drawing connections between these two parallels — reality and a mystical realm — she is further inviting us to search inside ourselves for explanations fuelled by doubt and contradictory thoughts, much like these two controvertible environments.

Furthermore, the use of phantasmagorical and logical scenes in many ways implies that Martin is drawing ideas from her sub-conscious — where thoughts and judgements are often clouded — to demonstrate how doubt exists within all of us. It’s the ways in which we shape, transform and utilise that doubt that can determine our success. Using film, Martin is translating her thoughts from the safe place inside her head to a medium that others can relate to. In a way, by exposing this doubt through her films Martin is making it acceptable.

One Of The Things That Makes Me Doubt stretches over 30 minutes, making it Martin’s longest film to date. It combines new footage with snippets from ten of her earlier creations (that are presented alongside it) as well as extracts from the 10,000 word, 30-year dream diaries written by Martin’s grandmother whilst undergoing Jungian psychoanalysis. These explain the heavy theme of revitalisation present through the series of films. Martin manages to transform a collection of her grandmother’s words mixed with her own thoughts into a series of moving images, which people of our own generation can more easily interpret and relate to.

The music tied into each film enhances their dream-like nature, allowing viewers to enter an ethereal, trance-like daze in which they merge with the films, momentarily entering the depicted dreams. Often discordant and unmelodious, these notes intensify the eerie and nightmarish feeling that encroaches upon anyone too engrossed in this effective form of storytelling.

It’s easy to recognise many similarities between the films, which seemed to be linked to the psychoanalysis treatment Martin’s grandmother undertook. Things are not always as they seem. There are no clear answers. Definite conclusions cannot be drawn. Actions and words are always symbolic. More importantly, doubt and questioning have a strong presence in both.

Dreams are and forever will remain an enigma to those outside of one’s own mind, yet Martin’s films transform dreams into a relatable media, whereby reality and surrealism are combined in order to appeal to the audience’s senses. Inquisitiveness and a desire to be part of the movements is drawn from the viewers, whilst a fear of the unknown and unexplainable is instilled in them.

Daria Martin: One of the Things that Makes Me Doubt is on at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Southbank, until July 28th 2013. For more information, visit www.accaonline.org.au.

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This post was written by who has written 11 posts on The Signal Express.

Newly turned vegan and vegetarian of ten years, my untamable red mane pretty much depicts my personality perfectly- crazy, wild, creative and cheerful. While people who know me well say I laugh too much, I blame it on my slightly unruly imagination, which sparks up often at times of great need- particularly when writing an abundance of creative stories. I have a passion for fashion and like to consider myself fashion forward, deviating from mainstream trends. J’adore le français, je l’etudie à l’école. The dead language, also known as Latin, intrigues me greatly. I am fortunate enough to unearth many of its perplexing grammatical structures at school nearly every day! It goes without saying that all cultural things spark my enthusiasm- particularly art, film and travel!

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