Svalbard Seed Cultures Ark
In a deep cavern carved inside a frozen mountain on an island high up in the Arctic lies the most biodiverse room in the world. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault holds over one million samples of seeds from all around the world. The Vault serves as a ‘back-up’ in case disaster (e.g. fire, flood, civil war) strikes the genebanks holding the original collections. However, the Seed Vault contains no information about the cultural significance of seeds; no stories about how they are cultivated, by whom, for what purposes, using what rituals, etc. The seeds are frozen in isolation from all the social practices, ecological relations, and cultural histories that give them life.
The Seed Cultures Initiative seeks to create an archive of visual artworks to help conserve the cultural heritage of seeds. Its aim is to celebrate the way seeds live within vast webs of interrelations and to honor the fertile bonds between biological and cultural diversity in agri-food systems.