Martin Arnold (born 1959 in Vienna, Austria) is an experimental filmmaker known for his obsessive reworkings of found footage. He is also a founding member of the Austrian film distributor Sixpack Film. Arnold studied psychology and art history at the University of Vienna.
Arnold’s films are intensely cut sequences in which several seconds of found footage are taken and stretched out into much longer works. The figures on the screen flip back and forth between frames, as the motion is repeated, reversed, and numerous single frame cuts are made. His intent is to create, or possibly unearth, narratives concealed within the mundane films from which he samples. Passage à l’acte (1993) uses several seconds of the film To Kill a Mockingbird to create a bizarre story of aggression and tension within a traditional American family.
Martin Arnold is representative of the generations of artists making the transition between experimental film and video art. Pieces such as Passage à l’acte (1993) were composed on film, with Arnold writing an edit decision list (EDL) for a film editor, who then recreated the choppy and intense works from the found source material. In the mid-1990s, Arnold was given access to an Avid digital editing machine, which allowed him to work directly with the footage and cut it into the intensely repetitive sequences himself. His first digitally cut project, Alone: Life Wastes Andy Hardy (1998), made use of footage of Mickey Rooney’s character Andy Hardy from the popular film series.