Replenish: Darrin Martin

Steel Tongue Accordion Ears by Darrin Martin


Sit in a chair with your eyes closed. Think of a sweet spot between a set of speakers or nesting with headphones of your choosing. Pay attention to your breath in relation to the sound/noise. It will not always be comfortable, and your senses sometimes assaulted, think of replenish as being filled with sound at intervals only to let go again. 

For the third iteration of Replenish, artist Darrin Martin invites participants to listen and observe.

Between the sounds derived from various metal objects, including steel tongue drums, a singing bowl, and the scrapping of thick wires, and breath as synthesized through effect boxes and an old toy squeeze box, Steel Tongue Accordion Ears, explores the space between melodic harmony and percussive disruption. The pounding of piano and typewriter keys join the chorus as a challenge to untether their distinct sounds from musical genre and written language, respectively. Wondering between these auditory descriptors are a series of short build ups that find relief in sounds unaided by human interventions such as the cooing of doves and a trickling stream. 

About The Artist

Darrin Martin engages the synesthetic qualities of perception through video, performance, sculpture, and print-based installations. Influenced by his own experiences with deafness, his projects consider notions of accessibility through the use of tactility, sonic analogies, and/or audio descriptions.

His works have screened at the Museum of Modern Art (NY); Pacific Film Archive (CA); Impakt Festival (Netherlands); European Media Art Festival (Germany), among many others. His artworks and installations have exhibited at venues including Grand Central Art Center (CA), Moscow State Vadim Sidur Museum (Russia), McIntosh Gallery (Canada), Krannert Art Museum (IL) and, most recently, Saint Joseph’s Art Society in collaboration with Telematic Media Arts (CA). Martin occasionally curates including a recent screening looking at the collection of Electronic Arts Intermix through a crip lens in (Mis)Reading the Image: Selections by Darrin Martin. He is a Professor in the Art and Art History Department at the University of California, Davis and resides in Oakland, CA.  


Our remote summer series, Replenish will present five artist-designed sound experiences that encourage listeners to take a break and take a breath. Replenish is organized by Emily A. Garner, Senior Manager, Campus and Public Programs, MIT List Visual Arts Center. Artist creating the series' prompts include: Jules Gimbrone, Victoria Shen, Darrin Martin, Lia Chavez, and Naama Tsabar.

Practicing mindfulness allows us to experience art and experience the world slowly and without distraction. As many move swiftly back to the speed of life post-pandemic, more and more artistic practices are calling in these ideas around mindfulness. With a diverse compilation of sound experiences, each artist offers a unique take on what it means to replenish oneself, emphasizing the importance of self-care.

A new iteration of Replenish will be released on the List Center website every other Wednesday, from July 12 to September 6, 2023. Participants are invited to engage with the programs asynchronously throughout the season. Visit the program page to learn more about the series.