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Artists in their own words: Delaney Martin


Delaney Martin with Odessa in The Music Box’s new home

Who: Delaney Martin

What: Multi-media installation artist

Where: Bywater

Artist’s chosen location for interview: 4559 Rampart – the new home of The Music Box with a side forest and a warehouse full of tools, houses-in-progress, dogs, and sawdust

Q: When do you decide to throw something away?

A: Generally I don’t throw away items that are sentimental. On the other hand, I’m really rough on clothes and objects, so if they aren’t incredibly sentimental to me then I’m prepared for the to end of their life to be with me.

A shirt might have survived since the 60s or the 40s, but it will most likely end its life on my body.

What’s interesting is that for The Music Box, things here are never done. These are living, breathing art projects, so they’re always changing and accommodating new circumstances. That could include a neighboring house that needs an new attachment built onto it, or the house may need a different roof line to accommodate it.


And some of the experiments don’t work, and we have to accept failure when that happens. We check in with the artist to see what they want to do, and if they don’t have any major plans of coming to get the piece and/or recycle the piece, then we reuse it in some other way. It’s okay for an experiment not to work because we move on and create something new. That way we have all these different materials to work with.

Q: Whose voice would you like to manipulate?

A: Well if you mean get into their brain and manipulate their thoughts then I’d say Donald Trump. It you are talking about manipulating the sound of a voice then it would be Anthony from Anthony and the Johnsons. Although, their name is Anohni now.

I would love to hear that voice channeled through some of our interfaces like the Phone Booth. I think it would sound incredible in a duet with the house with the fans, which is called Chateau Poulet. They have an amazing, soulful voice that’s also atmospheric, so I think it would fit so well with the sounds of our village.

Q: What’s the most interesting kind of audience member?

A: I’d say that the most unexpected audience members are the most interesting, but that’s part of what we do. We try to curate a performance with musicians with no only different career levels but also backgrounds, genres, and identities. We work with those musicians not just because we think they’ll be great musicians, which they are in that particular show, but also because they bring in different audiences.


Then we get an audience full of rapper fans, electroacoustic experimentalist fans, and all of these different kinds of people come together.

There’s this one picture from the Music Box that I love. It’s of a white woman, probably in her 40s with a smile and her glasses on. She’s sitting next to three black kids from the neighborhood, and then there’s a hipster right next to them. That, to me, is a good rounded-out picture.

That’s what I’ve loved about The Music Box since day one. Whether it’s the public hours or the concerts, the audiences are always such a mix. So many people come together. It’s a collaboration of audiences.

Airlift is really about building bridges between communities. Communities of artists. Communities of people. Communities in our city. It started off more as a way to export artists to new places post-storm and then to bring artists from afar here in order to have collaboration since the city is getting back on its feet. Now we still do both of those things, but now we are really focusing on who is in our city and doing interesting things. We are focusing on how we make projects that provide context for those people.

Q: How do shoes tell you about yourself?

A: Well, if mine were going to tell me anything I’d look at the fact that both of my shoelaces are mismatched and torn apart. The shoes are really dirty and worn in. You can tell I wear them a lot.

But I also love high heels, so I am back and forth. Like everything else, though, they’re all very worn in. Since I buy most of my shoes at a vintage or thrift store, they often don’t last long. I wear them out and the heel falls off. Then you adapt.

I’m not sure what that tells you about me.


Delaney is a multi-media installation artist, the co-found of New Orleans Airlift and the artistic director and co-found of The Music Box, which is currently running a Kickstarter until July 6, 2016. At all times The Music Box is in need of volunteers to help with work around the workshop and in the forest. If anyone is interested in getting really dirty and being part of a big picture and The Music Box family then you can fill out the volunteer form, which can also be found on their website. If you volunteer four solid days then you get a 1 year membership to The Music Box.



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