Stephen Mottram’s Animata, The Seed Carriers

Review in Issue 8-1 | Spring 1996

The polite words that best describe Stephen Mottram’s The Seed Carriers are pointless, tedious, passionless and nihilistic. The puppets were good though!

In the programme to The Seed Carriers Stephen Mottram says it is about a ‘series of dreamlike glimpses into the lives of small crunchy people. It is a dark parable about a world where the seed is more valuable than the person and society exists only to help along the process of natural selection.’ This seems fair enough. He justifies the piece by quoting from Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene in which he introduced the world to the idea that human life depended not on people and society, but on the genes which determine our development and functioning. Dawkins suggested that people exist solely to carry vital DNA forward. During the twenty years or so since his book was published, we have had to come to terms with this idea. I have certainly not come to terms myself with such an inhuman idea nor am I aware of many people who have. He then goes on to say, ‘We have become aware that genes do control us and that they are identifiable and tangible. We still call them “our genes”, but it is only a matter of time before we realise that we are only seed carriers.’ Stephen Mottram, speak for yourself! I for one cannot believe that he seriously thinks this, and what does he mean by the ‘world’, does this include the Third World, where the majority of the world’s population live and who have their own philosophy on life? My guess is that if you were to go to Asia or Africa and ask people what they know about ‘identifiable and tangible genes’, they would point to their Levis! If Stephen Mottram really believes what he has written, all I can ask him is: Where is your faith in humanity? Where is your optimism? Where is your human spirit? These are the human passions that you will not find in The Seed Carriers.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 1996

This article in the magazine

Issue 8-1
p. 21