Martin Seeds

click the image for Installations

‘Assembly’ is a body of work set in the Stormont Estate, the home of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The work uses the power of photography to generate allegory - letting the plants, trees and foliage deliver a message from the grounds surrounding the Northern Ireland parliament building about the struggles embedded in a fragile political landscape.

 

After a decades of street violence, bombings, shootings, thousands of deaths, psychological trauma, tribal politics and a large British military presence the 1998 Good Friday Agreement brought peace to Northern Ireland.  One of the outcomes of the peace agreement was the creation of a local parliament,  the Assembly, which attempts to bring together all rival communities to jointly govern the province. The Assembly consists of a coalition of members elected by proportional representation. All elected parties have to be part of the Assembly in order for it to function - everyone has to have a say or no one does. In reality the Assembly consists of single identity parties who, for the most part, have antagonistic agendas – either nationalist and for the unification of Ireland or unionist and against a reunification. Placing these incompatible agendas within a constitutional framework in which power is shared by all creates a government based on difference in which agreements are hard to come by.

 

‘Assembly’ suggests the importance of the grounds as a common material space beyond culture in which difference and likeness are both articulated and intertwined in a natural world outside of the political chamber.

 

Full text.

 

Text by Alex Kane - political commentator and journalist.

Assembly i. Architectural plans of the Northern Ireland Parliament building at Stormont. Built between  1928 and 1932, these plans show the imposing scale of the building, its symmetrical design and the grounds that surround it.

 

Giclée

 

Crown Copyright, used with permission.

Assembly ii Martin Seeds Photographer 
Assembly ii Martin Seeds Photographer

Assembly ii. The Stormont  Parliament  building.

 

Giclée

Assembly iii. Fragments of fossilized material in the Portland stone façade of the Parliament building.

 

101  x 76cms, Giclée, in white artist frame.

Assembly iv. 36 b&w contact prints of plant fragments from the Stormont Estate.

 

Fragments of plants from the grounds surrounding the parliament building, are isolated from their background and photographed with a smartphone. The resulting photographs are printed in the darkroom by bringing the phone screen, that is displaying an image, in contact with silver gelatin paper.

 

7.6x5 cms on 30 x 24 cms paper, Silver gelatin

Assembly v.  A bare tree canopy.

The image has been toned red to acknowledge the historically violent landscape over which the Assembly presides; it is the conflicting histories of this dangerous and bloodied landscape that the Assembly negotiates.

 

101 x 76 cms,  c-type, in artist frame.

Assembly vi. 60 landscape photographs.

 

Taken in the grounds of the Stormont estate, these photographs reflect the two different political  viewpoints that are held over the same landscape.

 

55.6 x 40.6 cms & 40.6 x30 cms, Giclée