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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Dornith Doherty - Archiving Eden: An 8-Year Art / Science Collaboration

Artist Presentation

Saturday, October 06 - 11:00AM to 11:45AM
103 Design Building

Spurred by the completion of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Dornith Doherty began Archiving Eden in 2008 as a way to explore the role of seed banks and their preservation efforts in the face of climate change and the extinction of natural species. She found the simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic nature of the Svalbard Vault compelling. Individuals and governments from around the world collaborated to create the first truly global botanical back-up system, but also, the gravity of climate change and political instability created the need for an inaccessible "Doomsday Vault" near the North Pole.


As Archiving Eden developed, collaboration became an important facet of the project. She worked closely with biologists at twenty seed banks scattered across four continents to gain special access to and understanding of the collections. Through this critical research Doherty developed a dual approach. Documentary images in the series record the spaces and technological interventions required to store seeds and clones in a state of suspended animation. Accompanying digital collages, made using on-site x-ray equipment, are a more intimate exploration of individual seeds and plant samples stored in these crucial collections. These magnified images illuminate poetic questions about life and time on a macro and micro scale and are presented as works on paper, lenticular prints, and stop motion animations.

speaker

Dorinth  Doherty
Dorinth Doherty

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