David A. Parker
June 2014 - Autumn 2015 at Street Road Artists' Space
Autumn 2015 - at The Christiana Motel in partnership with Street Road Artists' Space
David A. Parker's Enskyment continues his engagement with life’s brevity as a way to appreciate the precious little time we do have.
The project involves a life-cast of his head, composed of sunflower seeds and gelatin. Upon it he trains a camera that takes photographs in response to movement, documenting the reduction of the sculpture by birds – in effect, the conversion of matter to air.
The resulting photographs are edited minimally, or not at all. The camera is not very sophisticated, and has a quirk such that sometimes birds in motion are rendered in strange ways. Parker enjoys these odd artifacts that result from an imprecise process.
The title Enskyment is borrowed from a Robinson Jeffers poem:
I had walked since dawn and lay down to rest on a bare hillside
Above the ocean. I saw through half-shut eyelids a vulture wheeling
high up in heaven,
And presently it passed again, but lower and nearer, its orbit narrowing,
I understood then
That I was under inspection. I lay death-still and heard the flight-feathers
Whistle above me and make their circle and come nearer.
I could see the naked red head between the great wings
Bear downward staring. I said, "My dear bird, we are wasting time here.
These old bones will still work; they are not for you." But how beautiful
he looked, gliding down
On those great sails; how beautiful he looked, veering away in the sea-light
over the precipice. I tell you solemnly
That I was sorry to have disappointed him. To be eaten by that beak
become part of him, to share those wings and those eyes--
What a sublime end of one's body, what an enskyment; what a life
Parker states: Our body exists as an assembly of materials gathered from outside of ourselves. For me, these images prompt several questions. What happens when we imagine our body being dispersed back again? Is the barrier between our body and the rest of the world so clearly defined? Is willful submission to nature's processes in fact a chance at immortality? And perhaps most importantly: given that life is short, what should I be doing now?