Marta Masternak: Selected Works

July 12th - August 3rd, 2019

7 days a week, 11am–7pm

Thursday late night, 11am–9pm

314 Canal Street, New York City

cisza (silence), 2019, 1 min 39sec

found footage, digital collage music:permanenterror


The work addresses the relationship between time, memory, and how we preceive the subjective reality of it; which we base our everyday thoughts and experiences on. How do we remember things? When we recall a concept in mind, is it the same ideal or each time a different constitution of that memory, an interpretation of a concept dependent on the exact state of the organism in space and time unique to that moment? Do we change constantly our state of memory as we constantly change and update the way we see the world? Our perceptions of everything are so fluid and not possible to identify with satisfactory clarity at any given moment.

This work utilizes three elements: music, text and images. The three blurring into each other and simultaneously becoming one new unique compound unto itself - a film, just as our every day experiences mix with past events to give us our present. This short visual/sound composition mirrors the loneliness, desiderium of memory in an allegory of the process of remembering.The collages of the sculpture of Michael Angelo -David, represent the struggle of every independent individual. The collages are  blended with found footage of MRI scans of the human brain. We try to understand and process our environmental input and amalgamate it with our past experiences/knowledge,  but we are designed to stay mostly on the surface of our knowledge. The memory stays frozen like a marble David´s head of  Michelangelo´s sculpture ,it portraits only the ideal of thoughts but not a real situation. The words which you can faintly hear in the ´´melting music´´ sound familiar, but they are difficult to completely recognize; disappearing and melting from our consciousness like many thtoughs in our overloaded memory:

Już nie mieszkam w twojej głowie, (I don´t live in your head anymore) w twojej głowie mieszka ktoś (in your head lives someone else) there is silence in the noise

cisza                                            (silence)


human rituals, 2019, 10 min 55 sec



Human rituals, though often very simplistic in expression, can be extremely effective and are a feature of all known human societies, from gran coronation ceremonies to a simple handshake. They could be viewed as societal punctuation marks of our lives. They can turn the ordinary into the extreme and what was once extraordinary into the outdated. People are more likely to turn to rituals when they are faced uncertain situations, where the results are beyond their control. These rituals are often so deeply ingrained into societal norms that we all ingrain them into our everyday behaviours without any conscious knowledge or recognition of them.The presented film "Human rituals“ shows a gathering of people in the ritual of the purchase of fresh fish on a beach. This presents an interesting picture particularly when one attributes Evangelos Kyriakidis definitions as presented in "The archaeology of rituals". This view splits rituals into an outsider "etic" category (in which the behaviors seem illogical, irrational even unsettling) and an insider "emic" category. In the case of the film presented, the "emic" view is the ordinary daily purchase of food, whereas from an "etic" viewpoint the scene can take on a more sinister or nightmarish tone, particularly extreme when the tone is "suggested" to the viewer with subliminal images and emotional tone of another salient factor, such as the type of music it is accompanied by.In psychology, the term ritual is sometimes used in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior systematically used by a person to neutralize or prevent anxiety as well as to enhance people´s confidence in their abilities. Good examples of this are  superstitious behavior employed by people to try and increase/decrease the outcome of something or even obsessive compulsive disorders. In this way, rituals can be distorted and misapplied resulting in unwanted compulsive behaviours. The subconscious nature of these rituals can also result in cognitive dissonance as well as behaviours are person is neither aware of fully or actually desire. In this way, there can be a slow terrifying realization that we are not like an independent admirer of a great painter´s talent, as in with Bosch´s painting „The Garden of Earthly Delights“, rather than we are an active component of the piece...the scene of hell…



For more information contact

@m.masternak          #oncanal 

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