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  • Writer's picturePosthuman Art Network

Daniel R Marks (DRM)

Daniel R Marks (DRM) is an interdisciplinary artist and PhD researcher based in Melbourne, Australia. Applying a framework of queer self-esotericism to processes of entropy and feedback-looping, their practice envelops collusions of performance artwork, experimental writing, sculptural installation, and accumulative digital archives. Their artistic research unearths radical non-binary potentialities of the performing body, troubling ubiquitous systems of action and representation.

DRM has contributed artistic projects to various creative spaces and organisations in Australia, including RMIT Gallery, La Trobe Art Institute, CAST (Contemporary Art and Social Transformation), and Midsumma Festival. They are also affiliated with the Performing Dress Lab: an international team of researchers from RMIT University (Melbourne), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), and Aalto University (Helsinki), studying the relationships between fashion and performance.



My proposed project for the Posthuman Lab, under the working title Icon Painter, is a multi-media (performance, text and audio-visual) exploration of a practical methodology I refer to as Martyr Complex-ity. This methodology is a subject of my ongoing creative research into ways of radical queer art-making in critique and re-appropriation of cybernetic models of representation, interaction, and subject-object delineation.

Martyr Complex-ity, as it currently occurs in my own practice, is a practice of breaking down and re-configuring the limits of the body through symbological, semiotic and documentary means. Archival material of the body in performance (the body-in-action, the body-at-work, the body-on-site) is continuously re-worked as material in an art-making sense, obscuring the original composition of body, gesture, space and context, and leading to the production of an emergent self-referential conceptual-aesthetic language. The performer is martyred in documentation, and an iconography is unearthed as mythic tools for non-linear and post-theatrical performance. My intention here is to develop an evolving, experimental approach to performance art practice which is explicitly non-binary in its understanding of the flesh’s integrity and complicity with representational systems of control and surveillance. My research considers radical performance art and transgressive queer theory of the 20th century (particularly including the movements of Butoh, Actionism, Auto-Destructivism and Queercore), in relation to the field of cybernetics and its impact on notions of both bodily agency and transgression of bodily order. Applied to our contemporary context of ubiquitous surveillance and complicitly networked self, Martyr Complex-ity is one potential method of germinating skin, screen, interface, and camera lens as porous surfaces from which to exhume new iconographies of queer formation – the icon of the martyr as a non-binary singularity-point: a cutting edge and a perpetually unfolding bloom.

Icon Painter will apply this practice to the web-based choreographing of imaged performance, experimental writing/diagram work, digital sculpture, and sound score. The nature of the work is highly iconographic and language-based, and will be encountered in a layered and non-linear fashion. The project could be conceived of, at this point, as both a matrix of poetic and digital artefacts, and an iteration of an ever-reconfiguring research manifesto. Potential starting gestures for scores, rehearsal, and re-working are provided in the iconography of four martyrs: Sebastian, penetrated by arrows as a scaffold of penetration – Erasmus, his innards drawn out through the winding of a windlass – Isaiah, sawed in half – and Christopher, the dog-headed saint (who I appropriate as a “sniffer dog”, a symbolic performance-embodiment of systemic self-policing). I make deeply nested reference to these gestures of becoming-martyred, embedded in text scores and code, through the characters of >, @, ], and }, respectively.

The project is intended to be highly iterative and fluid, being situated both within the responsive site of the Lab and my ongoing practice-research. The iconographies emerging from the practice of Martyr Complex-ity will be colluded throughout the project as a navigable assemblage of audio-visual and text.

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