PHYLLIS ODESSEY

The Polar BearsAre Guarding Our Seeds

The Noah’s Ark of Seeds
or
The Doomsday Vault
or
Svalbard Global Seed Repository

February 26, 2011
is the four year anniversary of the vault.
There are currently 500,000 seeds in the vault.

What I found remarkable about the vault:  it could have been just a structure built to withstand a nuclear attack, but it’s more than that.  The Norwegian government demands that all government-funded construction projects over a certain amount are required to include some kind of art work.  The Norwegian artist, Dyveke Sanne was commissioned to create a lighting installation for the site.

DYVEKE SANNE ON THE ART PROJECT:  Perpetual Repercussion
The depths of the seed vault are out of sight.  Yet, its contents reflect a meaning and a complexity that affects us.  From the moment we become aware of its existence, we are reminded of our own position in a global perspective and the condition of our planet.”

An Interview with Dyveke Sanne  by Miranda F. Mellis
“Mirrors often act as portals in fairy tales and myths.  
The other side of the Seed Vault’s refracting looking glass contains the makings of a planetary garden,
and the dream of a postapocalyptic agricultural renaissance in the form of seeds hailing from more than one hundred countries and encased in thousands of four-ply vacuum-packed aluminum-foil packets stacked in plastic boxes, shelved in three vaults, surrounded by permafrost, refrigerated with one low-voltage coal-powered compressor, located behind four doors with four different locks under under twenty-four hour guard.” Miranda F. Mellis 
“The thought or idea of the installation is precisely to insist on reflection, that who you will meet in the mirror is yourself, and that whatever needs doing is up to you. Everything you do, you get it right back.  We have to  look, and then to look again.  The mirrors on the piece show you yourself:  what are you going to do?  This is happening.  Dig into it.   When I myself began to do research for the installation, I was amazed when I realized how little I knew about how global agriculture actually works and who has the power there.” Dyveke Sanne
Miranda Mellis mentions the idea of planetary garden.  According NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, some gas giants may sprout in less than one million years, more like planetary wildflowers than trees.

 Whether its a planetary garden or planetary wildflowers, it’s still a kind of garden.

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