Many Fish Sacrifices – 2005
Many Fish Sacrifices begun in 2001 as an ongoing ledger of recorded deaths. The book records all of persons who have died prematurely, accidentally, or for reasons that are unjust. The ledger pages are divided into four columns, the first with the year of birth and death, then followed by the name of the person, and how they died. The last two columns contain the common and Latin name of a fish native from the area in which the person died. For instance: (1920–1944) Marion Constantine Iwanczak murdered by the Germans during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, in the Old town, aged 24 years. The fish accorded was Walleye Pollock (Theragra Challogramma). The fish whilst also operating as a Judeo-Christian symbol, is a more universal and existential pointer to our primordial evolutionary origins. The calling forth of the name, and an acknowledgement of those who have died unjustly allude to a vast, universal deficit in the world history of potentially un-reconciled deaths. The book operates as a site for the potential ritual experiment of mourning. As death itself is a concept that resists representation, and is thus immutable to comprehension, the book hypothetically could assist in the difficulty of conceptualising that loss. In part, resolution of the perceived injustice could be challenged by the re-conceptualizing of the loss as ‘sacrifice’. What is speculated in the work is the possibility that an untimely death be considered part of an unknown metaphysical scheme, whereby, the death might be redeemed in the economy of sacrifice.
Catalogue essay by Dr Jacqueline Millner for the Exhibition Many Fish Sacrifices.