Benjamin Parker’s Reflects on Economic Migration Using Golden Seeds
In his own words, Benjamin’s works reflect the struggle between the need to distance ourselves from our animalistic, primitive nature (or dominate it), and the inherent desire for contact with it. In the Summer of 2018 The Other Art Fair London artist undertook a site-specific project during his residency in the South of Ireland.
Talk us through the project…
Íobairt (offering) is a reflection on depletion of fish stock as a cause of economic migration, I released 372 golden seeds into the Atlantic Ocean off the West Coast of Ireland, each one symbolising 10.000 tonnes of sea life taken from the North East Atlantic in a year. Over time, the tides and currents turned them back to the sea, letting nature go back to nature.
Íobairt means “offering” or “sacrifice” in Irish. The act of “offering” recalls the old pagan ritual of sacrificing to the sea and the elements.
Where did the inspiration come from?
I developed this site-specific project during my artist residency at Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry, Ireland. I had originally planned to go there to focus on working on paper. However, the place, a pre-famine village, was so immersive and so laden with its history that everything just seemed to come together.
This project thus came to be as a response to the flavour of the surroundings: the relationship between men and their environment, the consequences of ecological damages, the need for economic migration.
How does it tie in with the rest of your practice?
Golden seeds are a recurring feature in several of my artworks. They recall the apple in the garden of Eden but are also a symbol of rebirth.
What do you hope will come will come from it / how do you think this can resonate with your audience?
I enjoyed working on a site-specific project. I wanted to create a temporal sculpture in the environment, something slightly out of place, to raise awareness of the issue of fish depletion and how it affects people living in that area. For me it was also a great occasion to explore making art using facts and figures.