12 in stock

Archiving Eden

‘Many of Archiving Eden‘s images radiate a spiritual dimension, emanating wordlessly like hieroglyphs from nature, seeming to reflect life itself from within the seed… I believe the universe whispers the feeling of primordial life to us through Archiving Eden, filling us with auspicious dreams for the continuity of our world.’

Extract from essay in the book by Elizabeth Avedon

Author: Dornith Doherty


Spurred by the impending completion of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Archiving Eden explores the role of seed banks and their preservation efforts in the face of climate change, the extinction of natural species, and decreased agricultural diversity. Serving as a global botanical backup system, these privately and publicly funded institutions assure the opportunity for the reintroduction of species should a catastrophic event or civil strife affect a key ecosystem somewhere in the world.

Since 2008, Dornith Doherty has worked in collaboration with renowned biologists at the most comprehensive international seed banks in the world: the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service’s National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Colorado, USA, the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the UK.; and PlantBank, Threatened Flora Centre, and Kings Park Botanic Gardens in Australia.

Utilising the archives’ on-site X-ray equipment that is routinely used for viability assessments of accessioned seeds, Doherty documents and subsequently collages the seeds and tissue samples stored in these crucial collections. The amazing visual power of magnified X-ray images, which springs from the technology’s ability to record what is invisible to the human eye, illuminates her considerations not only of the complex philosophical, anthropological, and ecological issues surrounding the role of science and human agency in relation to gene banking, but also of the poetic questions about life and time on a macro and micro scale. Doherty is struck by the power of these tiny plantlets and seeds (many are the size of a grain of sand) to generate life and to endure the time span central to the process of seed banking, which seeks to make these sparks last for two hundred years or more.

Use of the colour delft/indigo blue evokes references not only to the process of cryogenic preservation, central to the methodology of saving seeds, but also to the intersection of East and West, trade, cultural exchange, and migration. This tension between stillness and change reflects her focus on the elusive goal of stopping time in relation to living materials, which at some moment, we may all want to do.


Reviews & Features
Radio interview with Yale University
Greenpeace Magazine (German)
Firecracker featured photographer May 2017
VICE online and printed magazine (UK & US) April 2017


Design: LevievanderMeer
ISBN: 9789053308844
24 x 29 cm
Half-cloth hardcover
180 pages with 95 photos in full colour

Additional information

Weight 1.198 kg


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.