States of Democracy


Mia Adams      Hina Barla     Yasmina Chavez      Jake Dockins      Lindsay Garcia     Martin Krafft    Michael Marks

Ashanti McGee      Stacy Arezou Mehrfar        Kelley O’Brien



Michael Marks

Title: The Arcade, 2019


About the work:

This video work is an excerpt from a constructed virtual reality (VR) environment titled The Arcade. The environment uses recognizable symbols of American governmental architecture, but reconfigures these structures into a science fiction scene, where buildings float and crash into one another in the void of space. A poetic interpretation on the nature of public institutions, it serves to remind us that democratic ideals are fragile, not abstract concepts set into an unknown future, but rooted in the struggles of the present.



Michael Marks has lived throughout the Southeast, spending his formative years growing up in rural Georgia. In eighth grade he acquired a set of oil paints from his grandmother, a MAD magazine from an older cousin, and took a computer coding class at an after school program. He has lived most of his artistic life between these experiences. Later, he received his BA from Georgia College and State University and MFA from Clemson University.

Marks was a co-founder and director of the ThreeCitiesGroup artist collective, active for nearly a decade across the Southeast. Working across a range of materials and techniques, his creative work has been shown nationally and internationally in over eighty exhibitions. His writings on contemporary art and education have been published by Temporary Art Review and the Paris College of Art Press. He serves on the board of FATE (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education) as editor of FATE In Review, an academic journal focused on arts education and visual culture. Marks is an Associate Professor of Art and Chair of The Department of Art + Design at the South Carolina School of the Arts.


Duration: 5 minutes 49 seconds