Martha Williams - "Bikefancy"
Deborah Startman on bike with a box full of FILM PRINTS going out to a festival.
Artists often cite inspirations and influences. What other artists inspire you? Is your work influenced by any specific movement or theory?
Land Artists and “Anarchitects” Gordon Matta-Clark, Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Walter de Maria. The Center for Land Use Interpretation’s projects continue to inspire me. My partner Steve Badgett and I have worked with them in a number of ways over the past fifteen years. Marcel Broodthaers is important for me as someone whose work had multiple modalities. And many, many filmmakers, too many to contemplate. Agnes Varda, Barbara Loden, Harun Farocki, Philip Trevelyan, Hollis Frampton, Yvonne Rainer, Emily Wardill, Robert Nelson, Ben Rivers, Jean Rouch, Kelly Reichardt. You’ll get bored if I list them all!
Art usually addresses something conceptual… whether it’s political, personal, emotional. What does your work address in concept?
A lot of my work explores infrastructures of transmission and control. Recently I have been thinking about connections between progress and morality, confluences of the rational and the supernatural, and the ontology of holes, among other things. I’m interested in what we are afraid of, in the ways we are policed by architecture, in the power of the conventional and how it pervades perceptions of class, the way mundane details betray convention, and thereby authority. I’m interested in the way sound both makes and disturbs place, in how we’re seduced by its nothingness. Sound as a mode of social control, the ecological effects of vibration, and the subversive, somatic capability of sound design to build and release tension have been central, recurring themes.
Can you explain your work? Medium? Technique?
I work multiple mediums – sculpture, drawing, photography, small press – but I came to them all via the cinema. Film making has been the through line. Broadly speaking, my films are variants on the documentary form. I utilize re-enactment, testimonial, found footage, voice over, on-screen text and direct observational shooting. I see no hierarchy between these modes, and I’m interested in the static created when styles rub against one another.
Where can someone see your work(s)?
People can find out about any of my past projects on my website. A good number of my films are available at Doc Alliance Films. Some can also be found on Vimeo. Distributors of my work include the Video Data Bank, Grasshopper Film, Cinema Guild and Peripheral Produce. Links to all of these and more can be found on Pythagora Film. Permanent public sculptures can be found in Wendover, Utah on the old airbase (Power/Exchange radio tower), and in Hinkley, California at the CLUI Desert Research Station (Range Trumpet & Desert Resonator).