Daria Martin trilogy

04 September 2005, 14:00–18:00

Casco is pleased to present a one-day screening of four 16mm films by Daria Martin, including the trilogy: In the Palace (2000), Birds (2001), Close Up Gallery (2003); and her recent film Soft Materials (2004). Martin’s trilogy seductively employs the futuristic utopian aesthetics of first European avant garde movements. 

Accompanied by a thundery soundtrack and dramatic lighting, In the Palace tracks a tableaux of static costumed actors situated within a structure based on the form of Giacometti’s wooden cage-like sculpture, In the Palace at 4am (1932). 

In Birds the camera similarly moves around a group of actors poised between colorful DIY props and assemblages that evoke early modernist theater, such as Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus

Close Up Gallery sees the exchanges between a young woman and a magician who performs a series of card tricks before a see-through circular three tiered revolving table, creating multi-layered kinetic patterns that mimic abstract painting. 

Soft Materials was shot in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich where scientists research “embodied artificial intelligence,” a cutting edge area of AI that produces robots which, rather than being programmed from the head down by a computer brain, instead learn to function through the experience of their physical bodies. Martin’s film sets up interactions between two performers that have been trained in body awareness, and a series of robots, their movements evolving into a kind of ballet mecanique. While exploring the forefront of new technology, Soft Materials simultaneously refers back to early futurism and the modernist fascination with the relationship between the human and the mechanical, as well as more recent avant garde performance.


Daria Martin (b.1973 USA) lives and works in London. In 2005 she was shortlisted for the Becks Futures award at the ICA, London, and had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Zurich, The Showroom, London and Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. She is currently showing her new film Man and Mask (2005) at The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh.

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