Special Delivery began in 2010 as a New York based mail art project involving artist friends, who were sharing photos, drawings, letters, and sculptural multiples through the mail. Art from the Mailbox is a series of blog posts that reflect on the individual pieces received from Special Delivery. The series originally appeared on thefanzine.com’s blog, and now, thanks to Wythe Marschall, Art from the Mailbox will continue on hollowearthsociety.com. Below, the series re-fires with thoughts on Jason Martin’s “Untitled Sound,” from Special Delivery 2010:
We have here an 8-minute 22-second window into Jason Martin’s mind, expressed as a collage of found sound coupled with segments of music the artist made himself. Often, pieces of mail art such as this one operate less as fully-realized works than as sketchbook pages offering peeks into an artist’s practice.
Like most of the other participants in Special Delivery, Jason isn’t strictly a mail artist, but he has filled this forum with the ghosts and spirits occupying his other performances and videos. For example, the comical mystique of Jason’s earlier works (i.e., his silent 16mm film on “light phenomena [suggesting] extraterrestrial origins,”) resurfaces when the poltergeist portal pops up about 4 minutes and 9 seconds into the recording:
…Now there’s something… [Blurry static slowly increases in volume] That is a well known channel… [More blur and fluctuating vibrations] This is one of the gateways to other dimensions… [A whirling sound, then the blur immediately fades—we’re supposed to interpret this as Jason putting the gateway aside]… Got to be careful with those.
This fascination with other-worldly beings has accompanied this artist/musician for a long time. It formed alongside a childhood growing up near the Andirondack Mountains. On the statement released with his album, Adirondack Power and Light, Jason writes of many hours spent imagining ghosts in the woods and by the waters of Sacandaga Valley. But his ghosts and beasts are never terrifying exactly. They are glittery and spirited.
This spiritual energy in Jason’s work can best be viewed in his Power Animal rituals, where he and costumed participants dress as wolf-humans in spandex and stretch out in sexual prayer-like poses. In a telephone conversation about this sound piece, Jason said that these phantoms and beasts form an outlet for art making. “Like a frequency I get tuned into,” this energy for visual works comes from an instinctual place. The ghosts, warlocks, and beasts always feel like fitting representatives of the site of creativity.
The Hollow Earth Society is a fan of Audrey Tran’s blog Artful Green Dot, on which she covers contemporary artists and other thinkers whose practices intersect the Green Movement and in some way add to our growing dialogue on ecology. We are indebted to her for lending us her pen, and we look forward to her developing series on hollowearthsociety.com.