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Discernment. Online
















How a coffee shop
made music

Matthew Martin's web presentation on IO, an intimate music space in Detroit, shows a quiet elegance

A photographer has put together Live@I0, a web exhibition that documents the evolution of IO, an intimate music space in Detroit.

Matthew Martin, the photo-artist behind the project, says he chose this medium over just an art gallery show because the Net can handle sound, images and text.

The diversity of people playing at the venue inspired Martin to emabark on this unusual project. "I was invited to the first show of a new venue that was opening in Detroit. The place wasn't officially open yet and the stage was in construction but the owners wanted to get things started. The line-up was peculiar... Struck by witnessing so many genres being displayed in one night, I decided to document this space. I wanted to watch this place evolve."

Martin took pictures on his Nikon over a period, and also got the owners Carl and Rob to record their observations. They say they didn't set out to make money but to create a place where people could hang out and enjoy playing music. Their unconventional attitude didn't go down well with the small-town where they had started off, and so they decided to shift to Detroit.

Carl had assisted in the design of a coffee joint in 1993, and then decided it was easy enough to start one of his own. He wanted lots of people to visit his place, and his intention was to "create culture". The skeleton of the Detroit stage was built in October 1998.

"It all depends on whether you consider progress making money or if you consider progress creating a culture," says Carl. 

IO's "small is beautiful" philosophy echoes the sentiments of intimate theatre, and Martin's web presentation is done with a quiet elegance. But browsers would appreciate some more details, like the full names of the owners, for instance!

TMM Desk 

Visit Martin's web show

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