top of page



Rafi Martin works in the field of performing arts, combining his dual background as a contemporary puppeteer and anthropologist-sociologist. He develops an artistic practice that intertwines material animation with field research methodology. He collaborates extensively with Julika Mayer and Joachim Fleischer, and has particularly worked with Elise Vigneron, Coco Fusco, Pierre Meunier, Marguerite Bordat, Michael Cros, and Renaud Herbin.

Julika Mayer, a puppeteer who graduated from ESNAM in 1999, co-founded La Où - Marionnette Contemporaine with Renaud Herbin, working on contemporary puppetry and object theater from 2000 to 2011. Since 2011, she has been the director of the Department of Puppetry at HMDK, University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany. She is involved in numerous international projects and collaborations. Rafi Martin was one of her students. In the Resonancias project, she engaged in a long-term artistic dialogue with Rafi.

Resonancias, Rafi Martin's latest creation, debuted in France in December 2023. It is a performative installation that evokes a magnetic and sonic space. The audience is invited to animate magnetic fields, meteorites, and magnets, entering into resonance with the installed space. In this setup, magnetism and attraction are central to what unfolds among the human audience and the mineral world. Suspension, space, and people become a game in which invisible forces interact with each other.

Rafi Martin unveils the stages of his unique journey that spans anthropology and sociology to flourish in the world of animated arts.

"I was fascinated by anthropology. What I loved was doing fieldwork, creating a conducive context to wonder how to go about searching."

His journey begins in Norway, within a Saami family, exploring reindeer herding.

Intrigued, he embarks on research that takes him all the way to Siberia, where horizons expand, but a conflict arises between the idea and the field.

"The realm of ideas is fascinating, but connecting theory and the field eluded me. Sitting for 8 hours a day to read and write contrasts with the immediacy of the field, which requires connecting intuitions and waiting times for something to happen.

Listening to the fact that we don't understand everything and that it's necessary to ask what questions allow for the creation of a shared understanding with the people on-site.

I liked this approach, but the way ideas are expressed in anthropology repelled me, as it ties the body and language."

The need to break free from the academic rigidity of anthropology arises. Rafi seeks a fusion of intellectual reflection and physical connection with the field.


Rafi Martin - Resonancias - ©photo Rafi Martin

The insight comes while attending a performance by Claire Heggen.

"It became evident to me that there are possible intersections between the theater of animated forms and a certain form of anthropological research, in the simple animation of joints that are, in the end, also concepts."

This revelation leads him to apply to the contemporary puppetry school in Stuttgart, where Julika Mayer is the director. Upon graduating from the school, his research takes shape. Each project becomes a tapestry of experiences, with anthropology serving as a compass to explore the stage, objects, and materials.

"What I learned at the Stuttgart school is a way of serving a relationship with objects and materials that requires us to accept not knowing, and I like it because it engages us in a particularly active research process."

Resonancias, Rafi's latest creation, puts this dialogue between anthropology and animated forms to the test, crystallizing research around the mineral universe, especially meteorites. It seeks to understand how the unique, sensitive, and sensory approach of the geologists at the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics in Antofagasta, applied to find meteorites in the Atacama Desert in Chile, can be translated into an installation where the audience participates in interactions both among people and with the material, in a space of resonance.

Rafi Martin - Resonancias ©photothomasbohl

Rafi Martin - Resonancias - ©photo Tomas Bohl

Rafi's trajectory with meteorites begins in Paris on the day he visits the Museum of Natural History. In the last room, he hears Millarca Valenzuela, a meteorite specialist, say, "Finding a meteorite means entering into resonance."

This statement deeply resonates with Rafi. To understand the profound meaning of Millarca's assertion, he decides to travel to Chile, accompanied by a team of artists, including Julika Mayer, to the driest place on Earth, a salt desert that preserves meteorites exceptionally well: the Atacama Desert.

"Millarca Valenzuela explained to us that in Atacama, one must understand that the earth and everything inanimate are considered as animate, with a spirit. This is truly how someone in the field of animated forms theater would speak. And it is fascinating to go to the other side of the world and meet a scientist who speaks in this way..."

"In this experience, what struck me particularly - Julika recalls - is the proposal of scientists who consider practicing science in an alternative way, a mode that asks not to retreat into an overly rational view of science, where everything would be predictably explainable and tied to facts.

Millarca explained to us how they conduct meteorite research. They comb through the desert space side by side, not to find meteorites but to allow meteorites to find them.

It's a movement of a chorus walking through space.

For these geologists, to be found by meteorites, it is necessary to establish inner silence and be in resonance.

If the person walking next to you emits noise, not from the mouth but inner noise, if the turmoil is too great, it might not work.

So it is essential to create this inner silence within the group. It seemed extraordinary to me because it is exactly what we try to achieve on the stage. Millarca applies these principles in her practice as a geologist, but they are the same tools of our theatrical practice."

This discovery of a different way of considering minerals as elements laden with a sensitive life evokes in Rafi the need to take his play partners, whether stones or people, very seriously...

Rafi Martin - Resonancias - ©photo Rafi Martin

Rafi Martin - Resonancias - ©photo Rafi Martin

Thus, Resonancias, an exploration born from the search for common ground between anthropology and animated forms, has gradually transformed into a performative installation in which, among other things, 5 small fragments of the same meteorite that fell in Argentina 5000 years ago, weighing approximately 200-250 g, variously sized round magnets, and suspended metal plates reveal their unique relationship with gravity, where direct contact is not necessary but possible.

"Meteoritic iron, denser than most terrestrial rocks, is not present on the surface. It resides within the Earth, on planets or asteroids. Despite their small size, due to their mass, these dense bodies have a prolonged rotation period, unlike less dense objects. Meteorites are constantly falling, falling to Earth, crashing, brushing against us, but in reality, they are always falling."

Inviting the audience to share a mineral moment encourages them to pause, allowing people to perceive the meteorites as if they could suspend the continuous moment in which they fall.

The experience becomes a tactile invitation, a pause to touch these fragments of deep history and connect with them.

And in this pause, an attempt is made to lower the frequency of the inner noise of the participants in the performative installation, to access a space of inner silence and a form of autonomy of gesture and relationship, of articulation and communication. The meteorites become dance partners, inviting participants to change perspective and explore eternity in an instant.

"I find this way of momentarily stopping time quite inspiring."

Perhaps it is in this moment of suspension that Rafi finds the alliance of parts beyond conflict, inviting us to access this broader and deeper dimension of feeling and understanding.

Rafi Martin - Resonanacias - ©photo Rafi Martin

Rafi Martin - Resonancias - ©photo Rafi Martin



bottom of page