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Heirloom, 2022

SeedCLOUD  is an interactive audio visual installation artwork comprising eight varieties of seed. Each bowl of seeds is embedded with an audio recording, accessible by enabling NFC (near field communication) on a mobile device. Viewers are invited to activate this digital seed library by positioning their mobile device over a bowl of seeds. Each variety of seed is linked to a narrator, telling a story in connection to that particular seed. 


The inspiration for this work began in 2017, during a research residency to Longyearbyen, an industrial frontier town situated in Svalbard, a remote archipelago located midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. It is the northernmost inhabited place to which one can travel via commercial airline, located some 78° North. Due to the extremity of its Northern location, Svalbard has no indigenous population, it does however have an unusual cultural history, all of which is rooted in the exploitation of nature of some kind. I was drawn to Svalbard upon reading an article in 2015 about the Global Seed Vault, a secured seed storage facility carved into the solid rock of the Plateau Mountain located in Longyearbyen. Here, buried within the mountain permafrost, the world’s largest seed collection is preserved, in a global effort to safeguard the future of agricultural diversity in the face of natural or man-made disasters. While navigating the Arctic landscape of Svalbard I was intrigued by the fascinating dichotomies at play. In a place considered one of the last remaining wildernesses on earth, abandoned coal mines sit in opposing proximity of dying glaciers and a global storehouse of agricultural biodiversity is nestled beneath a barren landscape. 


This fundamental experience led me to initiate a dialogue with Irish Seed Savers association. With the growing focus on climate action, reducing carbon footprint and striving for greater biodiversity and sustainability, Irish Seed Savers work addresses these areas by growing and making available collections of plant genetic resources, while capturing  and understanding their adaptation as our environment and climate changes over time. It was during my initial exploratory conversations and experiences at Irish Seed Savers that I became cognizant of the significance of seed in connection to human culture. 


SeedCLOUD  is a piece I have developed over the last two years, influenced in some part by Covid 19, where I began investigating new ways of making and connecting during the lockdown period. The seeds represented in this work translate as catalysts for conversations contributed by researchers, scientists, journalists and conservationists who generously shared their time and thoughts for creation of this work. 


SeedCLOUD  has been designed and produced by visual artist Rachel Doolin in collaboration with sound editor Richard Molloy, with webpage development by Liliana Zaharia. 

Seedcloud Exhibition View
Seedcloud Exhibition View
Seedcloud Exhibition View
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