British artist Cornelia Parker first became interested in art as a young child by throwing coins onto the nearby railroad tracks and witnessing their violent transformation. Rather than just crushing pennies, she created a creative mind.

Thirty Pieces of Silver

©Cornelia Parker via BBC News

Parker made this piece in her early 30s by destroying more than a thousand pieces of silver-plated metal. They are then left hanging in 30 separate pools, or “discs” from long cables a few inches above the ground. “The title […] alludes to money, to betrayal, to death and resurrection; more simply, it is a literal description of the piece.”

Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View

©Cornelia Parker via BBC News

A blaring lightbulb placed in the center of the installation powerfully illuminates the twisted fragments of bicycles, gardening tools, painted pots, and toys. The force of the continually suspended explosion catches the attention of the audience.

Perpetual Canon

©Cornelia Parker via BBC News

By destroying 60 brass-band instruments, Parker extended “Thirty Pieces of Silver” into “Perpetual Canon.” “The idea of a Perpetual Canon [is] that [it] just keeps going on forever. It’s like these wind instruments have inhaled and never exhaled. Like they’ve just taken a breath and are in an arrested space.”

“Island” (2022) is the working title of Parker’s latest project. The abandoned greenhouse and its white-washed windows have a literary impact, raising issues of cultural isolation and climate change. Use the breathing light in any way you see fit.