The Cold Coast Archive

The Cold Coast Archive:
Future Artifacts from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

The Center for PostNatural History is pleased to host the debut of "The Cold Coast Archive: Future Artifacts from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault", on display from May 15th to August 15th, 2012. Built to withstand catastrophe, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) opened in 2008 and is currently hosting seeds from nearly every nation on Earth. The exhibit examines the meaning and function of the world's largest and most well-protected collection of agricultural diversity.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) is located on the outskirts of Longyearbyen, island of Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between the North Pole and Norway, approximately 3,800 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. It is also known as the "Doomsday Vault". A biological safety deposit box, the SGSV has been compared to Noah's Ark, and a back-up hard drive. The exhibit looks beyond the vault as metaphor; to it's future utility, using media and objects to evoke the imagined collapse of agriculture informed by investigations of existing contingency infrastructure.

Geospatially, this exhibit of prediction is focused on the arctic town of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between the North Pole and Norway. The starting point, on the outskirts of Longyearbyen, is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV), wherein the world's most remote collection of crop seeds are stored, in a location chosen to survive global catastrophe. Also known as the Doomsday Vault, the SGSV was opened in 2008 and is currently hosting seeds from nearly every nation on Earth.

Signe Lidén (Norway), Annesofie Norn (Denmark), and Steve Rowell (USA) collaborated to produce The Cold Coast Archives. Experience sounds, videos, and photographs from their visits to Svalbard in 2011 as well as an experimental garden, field guide / map, and the contents from a imagined survival kit designed to help future generations successfully locate this critical cache of seeds.

CONTACT: Rich Pell, Steve Rowell

May 15th – August 15th, 2012 (Open Hours Sundays 12-6)

Signe Lidén (Norway) makes sound installations and improvised performances that deals with resonance of places and objects. Her installations are often sonic and spatial examinations of social and cultural phenomena through an experiential form of research. She has studied at the Academy of Arts in Oslo and has over the last years shown her works in exhibitions and festivals in Denmark, Germany and Norway. She is currently taking part in the Nordic Sound Art MA program in Copenhagen.

Annesofie Norn (Denmark) has an educational background from set design and fine arts. She is currently studying at the Master program, Art in Context, in Berlin. Through her artistic praxis she searches for strategies to map human system parameters and examine social, political and structural phenomena. Site specific work, audience involving concepts, experiments and prototypes is the content which forms her work. Often in a final form of spacial installations. During the last years she has developed several art works in collaboration with Signe Lidén, participated in projects of the Norwegian group Motherboard and developed stage concepts for opera, performance and contemporary theater.

Steve Rowell (USA) is an artist, designer, and researcher based in Los Angeles. His spatial practice involves overlapping aspects and perceptions of technology, culture, and infrastructure on, beneath, and above the landscape – contextualizing the built and the natural environment, appropriating the methods and tools of the geographer and cartographer. Photography, video, and audio field recordings are the media of his projects, often exhibited as installations or as public interventions. His collaborations include: the Center for Land Use Interpretation since 2001, SIMPARCH since 2006, and The Office of Experiments since 2008.