by JC Gonzo

I first witnessed Martha Colburn‘s work at SITE Santa Fe‘s 8th International Biennial “The Dissolve” in 2010. For a performance with musical accompaniment from Jad Fair (half of Half Japanese), Colburn simultaneously manned two 16mm projectors while using colored gels, mirrors, and screens to further manipulate the image. Her sense of physicalization extends beyond presentation; stop-motion animation and jumpy frame rates create a sporadic, disorienting universe of jumbled, fast-paced narrative.

With protest imagery and plans of action becoming redundant and expected, I was curious if any artists would add unique flairs to rekindle interest in the situation and further the conversation beyond ardent reactionism. I find myself often asking, “Where are the artists?” The outspoken Reverend Billy (who was promptly arrested) being the exception, I’ve yet to find good examples of “Occupy art.”

Colburn’s dizzying documentation frequently uploaded online comes as a breath of fresh air. The floods of people, the constant movement, the montage of the event add up to a beautifully crafted series of shorts featuring music from ZombyFelix Kubin, Hilary Jeffery, and Tom Carter.

Occupy Wall Street by Martha Colburn with Tricia Gray, Music by Zomby, 2011:

Occupy Amsterdam by Martha Colburn, Music by Hilary Jeffery, 2011:

Anti-Police Brutality Rally, Union Square NYC, by Martha Colburn, Music by Felix Kubin, 2011:

Occupy Wall Street (in 2 Parts) by Martha Colburn, Music by Tom Carter, 2011:

Granted, Colburn usually presents her work through digital or analogue projections. As she puts it herself, “youtube just looks like junk.” Still, I am grateful she’s uploading these works. We will look back on this in the years to come as a prime example of the movement’s relation to art. If you know other interesting examples of art emerging from the OWS movement please chime in.


  1. We are in the midst of the first ever GLOBAL protest against corporate greed and their molestation of our government. People around the world are standing together to raise their voice against the oppression of the 1% and their corporate welfare and lobbying which are eroding our economy and country from the inside out. See my artwork for the movement as well as resources and videos of the protests at Get informed and get involved… all you have to do is raise your voice for change!

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