Material Actions is an audiovisual performance created with video artist Mark Brown. This piece was originally developed for the Dutch Cabinet at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland and premiered as part of their 2016 ART/SOUND/NOW series. It has subsequently been performed at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore, MD.
In this performance I use a series of contact microphones to "play" common, modern materials such as bricks, coins, and a fan. Brown projects a sound-reactive video behind me.
This work considers the economics of the Dutch Golden Age. Each object I use is deliberate. The fan implies overseas trade, the feather symbolizes colonialism, the coins and bills denote the accumulation of capital, and the bricks allude to metropolitan expansion. Continuing the theme of global commerce, Brown synthesizes video imagery of waves and storms that he frames within the scalloped edge of a Dutch porcelain plate.
The works in the Dutch Cabinet we specifically responded to were Vanitas by Adam Bernaert, Breakfast Piece by the Circle of Pieter Claesz, Dutch Ships in High Seas off the Dutch Coast by Ludolf Backhuysen I, and the porcelain vessels from both China and the Netherlands. Imagery from all of these pieces was incorporated into the performance.