Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire
On Show 2020
James Burke

At a little known location lies a forgotten mountain top, where shifting sands are in constant flux, a desert where sand dunes migrate across its plains, covering and uncovering, sculpting and molding its hidden past. From a maritime perspective, the place in question is the Arklow Bank, it sits only a half a meter below the surface of the Irish sea. 24 kilometers long and two and a half kilometers wide, this unseen hazard is situated seven miles due east of Arklow town and running north to south. In a recent survey carried out by the Irish government, up to 2,000 ship wrecks have been charted, some of which are to be believed to be thousands of years old. A large number of these wrecks had been sunk crossing or hitting the banks, with another number of ships sunk by German U-Boats during the first and second world wars. Now broken up by storms and tide, their spoils transported and washed up around the coast, and this is where I come in. As within archaeology, these found objects (artifacts) represent human endeavors over the millennia. I have decided to ask a question in relation to the meaning associated with these objects, where trace, imprint, and contamination has survived complete destruction. They are objects that have completely lost their function, they had a tragic past and now their function can only be reconstructed in memory, a relic and reminder of what it is to be human. “Found objects can speak louder than words “