Installation of Barnacle Prints

1997, photo-etched barnacles on coffee stained abaca paper, each approx. 22 x 17 inches.  Edition of approx. 4. They can be assembled in different ways.  

Barnacles are very interesting because they are alive, but don’t seem to be.  They are often hermaphoditic and so can mate with no matter who.  Some barnacle species have extra long  “members” (as my Uncle Stan called his manly part) and can stretch longer than any other species (comparatively per size) to poke his sperm into the cavity.  Some barnacles may even be self-reproducing or get pregnant just by happening upon some sperm while they are floating along in the sea.  They make this sucking noise if you listen.  Some barnacles are the most sought after delicacy the ocean has to offer.  I have never tried them.  They are very expensive.

Barnacles are overlooked and forgotten and even a nuisance to people. To me, they are divine.  This series of white”ish” barnacles on white”ish” papers embodies the oceans for me.  Barnacles are complex, powerful, essential, and intrinsic to ocean life. They are also strangely soothing, constant, and reassuring when you spend time at the sea for pleasure.

I have latched onto barnacles as a subject because they have a fluid identity.  They can symbolize a lot of things. This installation was inspired by the the patterns in the sands and tides at Wingaersheek Beach.