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  • Daniel R Marks

DRM: Icon Painter

Updated: May 7, 2022

to set the scene, a backstage provocation: a database as score, gesture codex as iconographic matter

parasite auscultation as scene and cut on flat-earth

figuring-out Martyr Complex-ity*:

(Four martyrs, their means of becoming-iconic as gestural tools for dramaturgical code-writing

- to re-configure posthuman agency through a performative dis/embodiment of systemic thinking)

> Arrow (Sebastian)

>penetrate as lattice

>a web of entry-points

>a scaffold of perspectives

>decentralised targeting

>as erotic fixation

@ Spool (Erasmus)

@organs wound-out






] Saw (Isaiah)



]sawed in half


]the reveal

} Snout (Christopher)

}patron saint of travellers, icons placed in vehicles



*Martyr Complex-ity

A practice of breaking down and re-configuring the limits of the body through symbological, semiotic and documentary means.

Artefactual documents/scores/archives of these limits being transgressed through performance are 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.

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.

Applied to our contemporary context of ubiquitous surveillance and complicitly dissolved (becoming-absorbed) self, Martyr Complex-ity is a potential method of germinating skin, screen, interface, and camera lens as porous (and opaque/hazy) 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.

to excise the interface

bleed out leaky edges of a germinating bed

the rim curls as a vessel of ruptured integrity - a sacred icon as carrier of auto-destructive contamination

  • the tongue curls as concave: inward to the back of the throat, interior channel breath speech squeezing out as a dripping whistle, a panting sound escaping on the edges of the muscle bowl

}tongue whistle as sniffing mouth-relic

}as Sniffer Dog:

}woof woof

}sounds you out

}gets off on the scent

}sniffs itself

}being a hole-body

}a self-policing of lack

}an Actionist mutilation of bodily integrity

}domination and submission in a feedback loop of regression

  • hand curls as concave: holds whispers listens ear to the door carries spits covers beckons mimics fills spills nurtures muffles chokes

(Two "Holy Wound" objects, both metal wire, clay and latex moulded onto inside of cupped hands and coated in wax. The inside faces are painted with red oil paints. The outside faces have some intricate impressions of the inside of the artist's palms. The objects have been used as vessels for carrying water. Here they are placed together - two halves of a shell, two tongues making out - atop a camera tripod, positioned as a device of capture and digital transubstantiation before a stretched greenscreen.)

gesturing limit

the screen as edges

a burial mound of canoptic vessels

]shucking out

]scrape the inside

]a split shell cracked open

(to re-configure the martyred bodies of interfacial regime - to compose the contradictions of our complicity with dis/embodiment - to dis-integrate representational logic - to paint icons of tortuous becoming-symbol)

a choreography of holy wounds

>I show my wounds

}I lick my wounds

}self-surveillance, sounding out-of-bounds

@dredging the limit

@getting the body into trouble

@viscera as parasite

>orifice as command

(A collection of wearable silicone "Double Agent" earpieces lay piled upon each other in a broken offering vessel of metal, cement, clay, duct tape and white wax. The earpieces were formed as wire and clay objects, coated in silicone. Submerged in water for several days, the clay was wettened and squeezed out through breaks and holes in the silicone membrane. The wire was cut and extracted with pliers. The hollow tubes carry some traces of clay inside, and grow discoloured over time. They coil around the sensory organ/vessel of the ear and enter into its concave opening, telling silent scores of wet, slippery, twisted interior-exterior complexities.)


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.


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