Martine Syms

March 31, 2014

Martine Syms is a conceptual entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. Her work examines the assumptions of contemporary America, particularly the way that identity and memory are transformed by the shifting boundaries of business and culture.

From 2007–11, Martine  directed Golden Age, a project space focused on printed matter that she founded. She currently runs DOMINICA, an imprint dedicated to exploring blackness as a topic, reference, marker and audience in visual culture. She has lectured at Yale University, REDCAT, SXSW, Light Industry, Project Row Houses, the Houston Museum of African American Art, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and MoMA P.S.1, among other venues. Martine’s artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including presentations at the New Museum (New York), Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), MCA Chicago, Young Art (Los Angeles), The Green Gallery (Milwaukee), and White Flag Projects (St. Louis).


Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m a conceptual entrepreneur. I write, edit, design, and publish books; make artwork; build websites; make artwork that involves building websites; and spending a lot of time thinking.

Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? Most visited: – to inquire, – to know, and – to tweet.


How has living in Los Angeles affected your work? Los Angeles is a city of networked activity. It’s a good setting for creating web-based works because I see how the net works politically, socially, economically, and geographically.

Who is your ideal business sponsor/partner? Good question. I’d love to partner with Viacom to make a television channel—but they’d have to give me complete creative control so it’s a pipe dream.


What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Altadena, science fiction, Andras Fox, stand-up comedy, 80s Japanese fashion, and radical Italian architecture.


What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on?

If you were a drink what drink would you be? Kale lemonade.


How did your interest in your work begin? Define interest.

What products or companies are you interested in right now? I’m a big fan of It’s the best way since Napster to share and discover music. I’m also interested in fitness trackers and any sort of wearable tech.


What phrases or trends do you wish to never come back? I’m tired of people quoting Beyoncé.